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mardi, 19 mai 2020

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin in Zürich


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin in Zürich

51tMhCAkhzL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgIn 1975, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn excised the several Lenin chapters from his massive and unfinished Red Wheel epic and compiled them into one volume entitled Lenin in Zürich. At the time, only one of these chapters had been published — in Knot I of the Red Wheel, known as August 1914 — while the remaining chapters would still have to languish in the author’s desk drawer for decades before appearing as part of The Red Wheel proper (November 1916 and March 1917, specifically). In order to save time and make an impression on his contemporaries, many of whom in the West still harbored misplaced sympathies for Lenin, Solzhenitsyn decided to share with the world his eye-opening and unforgettable treatment of the Soviet Revolutionary.

Solzhenitsyn’s approach, which was based on close study of Lenin’s speeches and letters as well as few accounts of his exile in Switzerland, combines third-person narration and first-person intimacy to deliver a nearly-Satanic depiction of Lenin at that time. Lenin is peevish, intolerant, tyrannical, ideologically murderous, and astoundingly petty. He’s also brilliant, dedicated, focused, and consumed by inhuman energy. It’s both fiction and not, and, as with the entire Red Wheel saga, demonstrates how Solzhenitsyn used the narrative arts to reconstruct and decipher historical events.

Lenin in Zürich’s enduring meaning for the Right lies not so much in Solzhenitsyn’s negative portrayal of Lenin, the memory of whom most Rightists would rather smash with a pedestal than hold up with one. Lenin’s ruthlessness and cruelty as a world leader is well documented. Rather, Solzhenitsyn cuts open, as only a novelist could, the repulsive psychological innards of the nation-killing Left, thereby defining the Right as its opposite in comparison.

We feel the strain, first off. Through his Nietzschean use of exclamation points and the constant stream of insults he hurls, unspoken, at his fellow socialists, Lenin never seems to enjoy being Lenin. He resembles Milton’s Lucifer cast down to Hell in Paradise Lost, only he’s stuck in Zurich, a place so peaceful, so prosperous, so bourgeois, so pleased with itself — in the middle of a world war, no less — that Lenin could just spit. Even the socialists there are incompetent, blockheaded vacillators. All Lenin can do is study the newspapers, plot unlikely ways in which the war could instigate communist revolutions, and fulminate. But mostly, he fulminates.

But worst of all, obscenest of all, Kautsky, with his false, hypocritical, sneaking devotion to principle, had started squawking like an old hen. What a vile trick: setting up a “socialist court” to try the Russian Bolsheviks, and ordering them to burn the all-powerful five-hundred-ruble notes! (Lenin had only to see a picture of that hoary-headed holy man in his goggling glasses, and he retched as though he had found himself swallowing a frog.)

August 1914 was a low point for the Bolsheviks abroad, apparently. They had few prospects and constantly bickered among themselves. That many on the Swiss Left were hampered by quaint notions of nationalism infuriated Lenin, but there was little he could do about it. After the failed Russian revolution in 1905, expectations were low — that is, until world war is declared. Solzhenitsyn’s first indication of how the Left operates against humanity, almost like a cancer, appears when Lenin reveals how overjoyed he is with the war. Death and destruction mean nothing to him unless it helps the Cause. He sees the struggle on the Left as patriots vs. anti-patriots — but on a larger scale, his revolutionary framework pits nationalists against anti- (or super-) nationalists. And nothing can weaken nationalism more than a senseless and protracted war. At one point, he ghoulishly admits that the greater the number killed in battle, the happier he gets. He worries only that the European leaders would do something stupid and ghastly like sue for peace before he and his fellows could instigate revolution in teetering-on-the-brink nations such as Switzerland and Sweden.


The little things that Lenin does, and many of his offhand remarks and observations, also reveal his enmity towards everything traditional, natural, and morally wholesome. He complains bitterly against the principle of property rights. He recoils when approached by nuns on a train platform. He endeavors to keep his colleagues quarreling when it is useful to him. He opposes the Bolshevik employment of individual terror only because he believes terror should be a “mass activity.” He passes shops and delicatessens on the street and imagines them being smashed by an axe-wielding mob. He even foreshadows the Soviet Dekulakization of the next decade by claiming that

The Soviet must try to ally itself not with the peasantry at large but first and foremost with the agricultural labourers and the poorest peasants, separating them from the more prosperous. It is important to split the peasantry right now and set the poor against the rich. That is the crux of the matter.

Lenin not only pits himself against mankind, he pits himself irrevocably against his own colleagues. When he meets with the Swiss Social Democrats (dubbed “the Skittles Club”) at a restaurant, Solzhenitsyn offers this diabolic nugget:

Lenin’s gaze slides rapidly, restlessly over all those heads, so different, yet all so nearly his for the taking.

They all dread his lethal sarcasm.

And don’t get him started on the Mensheviks. He hates the Mensheviks. At one point, Lenin rather hilariously avers that he “would sooner see Tsarism survive another thousand years than give a millimetre to the Mensheviks!”

He also lies. He announces that Switzerland is an imperialist country when he knows it isn’t. He also claims, to the bafflement of the Swiss socialists, that Switzerland is the most revolutionary country in the world. He makes false promises to the more moderate socialists regarding their post-revolutionary roles. Double standards are nothing to him as well. He advocates opposing the war in public but egging it on in private. He professes to support democracy, but only before the revolution. Afterward, it should be abolished with all other hindrances to his planned totalitarian rule.

If any of this sounds familiar, it should. The Left has not changed much since Lenin’s day, merely exchanging class for race in the twenty-first century. The same bunch that clamored for civil rights for non-whites in the 1960s are now calling for the open oppression of whites. Just as with Lenin, what the Left says it wants and what it truly wants are two different things — the only determining factor here being who wields the power. Furthermore, a stroll through anti-white Twitter or anti-white Hollywood will show quite clearly that Left’s violent fantasies against their perceived enemies aren’t going anywhere.


Another aspect of the Left that Solzhenitsyn reveals is its Jewishness. True, he does not name the Jew in Lenin in Zürich like he does in 200 Years Together. However, since all the characters in these chapters are historical figures, it’s easy enough to gauge exactly how Jewish Lenin’s circle was and how important some of these Jews were to his — and the Bolsheviks’ — ultimate success. And the answer is considerable on both counts.

Parvus_Alexander.jpgA man known as Parvus appears foremost among the Jews in Lenin in Zürich. Born Izrail Lazarevich Gelfand, he comes across, at least to Lenin, as an enigmatic and somewhat unscrupulous capitalist and millionaire who, for some reason, dedicates his life to socialist causes. Either this, or he wishes to destroy Russia while exhibiting a suspicious allegiance to Germany. Parvus, along with his protégé Leon Trotsky, had tried and failed to overthrow the Tsar in 1905, and now offers a new plan: With his deep contacts in the German government, he will arrange for the Bolsheviks’ to travel through Germany in order to re-enter Russia where they can foment revolution against a weakened Tsar. This would serve not only Lenin but Parvus’ German friends as well by knocking Russia out of the war. Suspicious of Parvus’ outsider status, and especially of his tolerance of Lenin’s detested Mensheviks, Lenin at first refuses. However, he cannot shake his respect and fascination for this mysterious benefactor.

Fat, ostentatious, and lacking tact, Parvus appears just as repulsive to the reader as he does to Lenin. However, his great wealth and his acumen for political scheming tames Lenin’s rapacious attitude and manages to shut him up for a while (which perhaps exonerates him somewhat as a character in the reader’s mind). He’s also quite prescient, having predicted World War I at an earlier point and impressing upon an incredulous Lenin that “the destruction of Russia now held the key to the future history of the world!”

And, of course, he’s a financial genius:

It was a matter of instinct with him, the emergence of disproportions, imbalances, gaps which begged him, cried out to him to insert his hand and extract a profit. This was so much part of his innermost nature that he conducted his multifarious business transactions, which by now were scattered over ten European countries, without a single ledger, keeping all the figures in his head.

d595b497ad4d0145202370e65cddfeb5.jpgAnother Jew who figures prominently in Lenin in Zürich is Radek (born Karl Berngardovich Sobelsohn). Lenin has tremendous respect for Radek as a writer and propagandist — that Radek had become one of the Soviet Union’s most prominent journalists years after Lenin’s death certainly justifies Lenin’s esteem. In all, he is clever and resourceful and the only person to whom Lenin would voluntarily surrender his pen. After the February Revolution in Russia, as Lenin prepares for travel back to his home country according to Parvus’ plan, Radek contrives ingenious solutions to formidable logistical problems that threaten to sink the enterprise. This makes Lenin, for one of the few times in the book, truly happy.

Not included in the later editions of The Red Wheel, which contain all of the Lenin in Zürich chapters, is an extremely useful “Author’s Index of Names” in the back of the book. Forty-nine names are mentioned, fifteen of which are Jews — sixteen if we include the half-Jewish Ryazanov (David Borisovich Goldendakh). This is over thirty percent, with a couple of names that I could not verify one way or the other. The ones I could are: Aleksandr Abramovich, Moisei Bronski, Grigory Chudnovsky, Lev Kamenev, Moisei Kharitonov, Paul Levi, Maksim Litvinov, Yuly Martov, Parvus, Radek, Georgy Shklovsky, Georg Sklarz, Grigory Sokolnikov, Moisei Uritsky, and Grigory Zinoviev.

Further, not all of the gentiles mentioned were part of Lenin’s inner circle. Some, such as the much-despised Robert Grimm and Fritz Platten, were Swiss socialists who contended with Lenin and did not accompany him to Russia. Others, such as Aleksandr Shlyapnikov and Nikolai Bukharin, were important and were mentioned frequently in the text but were not in Switzerland during the timeframe of the chapters. And two, Nadezhda Krupskaya (his neglected wife) and Inessa Armand (his beloved mistress) made few substantive contributions to his revolutionary work in the pages of Lenin in Zürich. According to Solzhenitsyn, many of Lenin’s closest associates in Zurich were Jews. Certainly, the two most important ones were.

From the perspective of the Right, Solzhenitsyn offers tantalizing evidence that the October Revolution would not have occurred (or would not have been as successful) without crucial actions from Jews at the most important moments. Without Parvus and Radek, Lenin likely would have stayed in Zurich in March 1917. Would he have gotten out in April or May or at all? Would he have even made it to Russia in time to make a difference? Would the Bolsheviks have been as successful without him? Impossible to say, but a reasonable conclusion would be that the fate of the Soviet Union would have hung much more in the balance without Lenin running things during its formative years. And without a successful October Revolution, we likely wouldn’t have the tens of millions of people senselessly killed by the Soviets during the 1920s and 1930s.


Lenin in Zürich offers positive value to the Right as well, almost to the point of irony. Despite being an unhinged, foul-tempered, miserable villain, Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin exhibits some admirable characteristics that dissidents of any stripe would do well to emulate — provided they sift out the destructive elements. His gargantuan faith in himself makes him utterly impervious to ridicule and embarrassment. He thinks in slogans — always striving for a way to control and motivate the masses. (“The struggle against war is impossible without socialist revolution!”) He’s obsessed with time and gets annoyed almost to the point of rage whenever he wastes any. Everything is urgent for him. The man also demonstrates inhuman energy, always working, always reading, always striving. Solzhenitsyn, to his great credit as an author, makes Lenin’s intensity vibrate on nearly every page. Here’s a sample:

By analogy, by association, by contradiction, sparks of thought were continually struck off, flying at a tangent to left or right, on to loose scraps of paper, on to the lined pages of exercise books, into blank margins, and every thought must be stitched to paper with a fiery thread before it could fade, to smoulder there until it was wanted, in a draft summary or else in a letter begun there and then so that he could forge his sentences red-hot.

In essence, Lenin’s bulletproof spiritual constitution makes him the perfect radical machine. Who wouldn’t want to follow such a man during a crisis?

But to afford this, Lenin must live a Spartan life. He dedicates his entire life for his cause, and so does little for himself in terms of pleasure. Sadly for him, and for humanity, his dear Inessa could not requite his infatuation with her. In a candid moment, Lenin admits that only in her presence could he slow down and relax and do things for himself — day after gloriously languid day. Perhaps if he had found a little more solace with her, the world could have been spared his Mephistophelean wrath. Perhaps with her, he could have been more human and less Lenin.

Here is where I believe Solzhenitsyn fibs in the way all great authors should fib. This is all too good, too perfect a story to tell. I sense an all-encompassing tragic architecture rather than the ramshackle formation of truth. I can’t prove it, but I would guess that Vladimir Lenin would have remained a devourer of worlds even if he had had his way with Inessa every night while in Zurich. He would have eventually grown bored and contemptuous of her, like he did with most everyone else. Nothing would have changed.

But Solzhenitsyn makes us wish it had. And he makes us believe, even if only for a moment, that through romantic love it could have. When Lenin has an introspective moment alone, shortly after learning of the first revolution in Russia, he contemplates how his life is going to change forever. He then sits on a park bench before an obelisk commemorating a 1799 Zurich battle between the Russians and Austrians and the French. Yes, Russians of the past had fought even here, he thinks.

The clip-clop of hooves startles him. Inessa! Here she comes! What a surprise! She’s sitting upright in the saddle of a chestnut horse. She’ll be with him at any moment!


Of course, it isn’t her, but a beautiful woman nonetheless. And this gets our Lenin to thinking. . .

He sat very still studying her face and the hair like a black wing peeping under her hat.

If he could suddenly liberate his mind from all the work that needed to be and must be done — how beautiful this would seem! A beautiful woman!

Her only movement was the swaying of shoulders and hips as the sway of the horse lifted her toe-caps in the stirrups.

She rode on downhill to a turn in the road — and there was nothing but the rhythm of hooves for a little while longer.

She rode on, carrying a little part of him away with her.

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dimanche, 07 juin 2015

L'héritage bolchévique en Russie et en Ukraine

L'héritage bolchévique en Russie et en Ukraine

par Xavier Moreau

samedi, 23 novembre 2013

Occult Roots of the Russian Revolution


Occult Roots of the Russian Revolution

Ex: http://www.gnostics.com

Dearest friend, do you not see
All that we perceive –
Only reflects and shadows forth
What our eyes cannot see.
Dearest friend, do you not hear
In the clamour of everyday life –
Only the unstrung echoing fall of
Jubilant harmonies.
– Vladimir Soloviev, 1892

The Great Russian Revolution of 1917, launched by Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevic party, profoundly influenced the history of the twentieth century. The fall of the Russian Empire and its replacement by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ushered in а new аgе in world politics. More than this, the Russian Revolution was the triumph of а dynamic revolutionary ideology that directly challenged Western capitalism. But what of the hidden origins of this Revolution? Did secret influences contribute to the victory of Lenin and the Bolshevics?

Innumerable books, not to forget massive scholarly studies, are devoted to examining the Russian Revolution and the rise of Soviet Communism. All this impressive research is almost exclusively devoted to the obvious political, economic and social dimensions, i.e. the surface manifestations of history. However, within or behind this mundane history lies another reality that is more interesting and more important than the everyday analysis offered by mainstream historians and writers.

Establishment historians pay little attention to the remarkable impact occult and Gnostic ideas had on the rise of Bolshevism and the victory of the Russian Revolution.

A number of social and political movements, including Marxism and Lenin’s Bolshevism, have been linked to Gnosticism, which flourished in the early centuries of the Christian era. The political scientists A. Besancon and L. Pellicani argue the intellectual roots of Russian Bolshevism are a structural repetition of the ancient Gnostic paradigm. A distinguishing feature of Gnosticism is an illusive, symbolic interpretation of reality, including history.

For the early Christian Gnostics the Absolute – termed the ‘Unknown Father’– has nothing in common with the wrathful ‘God’ worshipped by theist religion. In fact, for these Gnostics, the ‘God’ of the Old Testament is the adversary of their ‘Unknown Father’, the true God. Our world, including all human institutions, is not the work of the true God, but of a false creator, the Demiurge, who keeps us captive in the world, away from the divine light and truth.

Therefore, in Gnosticism, the world is merely a sort of illusion, a set of allegorical symbols, a reverse image of the real essence of history. Man, who is asleep to his inner potential, must awake and become an active partner of the ‘Unknown Father’ in the transformation of all life. Otherwise he remains a prisoner in what the eminent Russian Gnostic philosopher Vladimir Solviev (1853-1900) aptly described as “a kind of nightmare of sleeping humanity.” A number of Gnostic communities – like nineteenth century communists – held contempt for material goods and lived communally, teaching “the world and its laws, religious, moral and social, are of little relevance to the plan of salvation.”1

Gnostics, Mystic Sects & Radicals

Russian mystical sects played an extremely important part in the Bolshevik revolution, on the side of the Bolsheviks. In spite of their rejection of the state and the church, these sects were deeply nationalistic, since their members were hostile to foreign innovations. They hated the West.
— Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

Throughout nineteenth century Europe we find numerous connections between Gnostics, mystics, occultists and radical socialists. They constituted what the historian James Webb calls “a progressive underground” united by a common opposition to the established order of their day. Constantly, Webb writes, “we find socialists and occultists running in harness.”2 Sundry spiritual communities emerged across the United States, with clear Gnostic and occult doctrines, which attempted to follow a pure communistic life style. Victoria Woodhull, the president of the American Association of Spiritualists during the 1870s, was a radical socialist. Woodhull believed that Spiritualism signified not only religious enlightenment, but also a cultural, political and social revolution. She published the first English translation of the Communist Manifesto and tried in vain to persuade Karl Marx that the goals of Spiritualism and Communism were the same.

Dissident Christian mystics, spiritualists, occultists and radical socialists often found themselves together at the forefront of political movements for social justice, worker’s rights, free love and the emancipation of women. Nineteenth century occultists and socialists even used the same language in calling for a new age of universal brotherhood, justice and peace. They all shared a charismatic vision of what the future could be – a radical alternative to the oppressive old political, social, economic and religious power structures. And more often than not they found themselves facing the same common enemy in the unholy alliance of State and Church.

The birth of radical socialist ideas in Russia cannot be easily separated from the spiritual communism practiced by diverse Russian sects. For centuries folk myths nourished a widespread belief in the possibility of an earthly communist paradise united by fraternal love, where justice, truth and equality prevailed. One prominent Russian legend told of the lost land of Belovode (the Kingdom of the White Waters), said to be “across the water” and inhabited by Russian Old Believer mystics. In Belovode, spiritual life reigned supreme, and all went barefoot sharing the fruits of the land and their labour. There were no oppressive rules, crime, and war. Another Russian legend concerned Kitezh, the radiant city beneath the lake. Kitezh will only rise from the waters and appear again when Russia returns to the true Christ and is once more worthy to see it and its priceless treasures. Early in the twentieth century such myths captured the popular imagination and were associated with the hopes of revolution.

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, a schism occurred within the Russian Orthodox Church of a new religious movement called the Old Believers. The result was that many Russian spiritual dissidents took courage from the split to found their own communities, giving vent to Gnostic ideas that had long been simmering underground. The Old Believers, in the face of severe repression, clung tenaciously to their ancient mystic tradition and expressed their separation from the official world of Imperial Orthodox Russia in collective migration to the fringes of the state, mass suicide by fire, rebellion, and a monastic communism.

Gnostic communities, with their communalism and disdain for private property, proliferated throughout Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Known by a variety of names such as Common Hope, United Brotherhood, Love of Brotherhood, Righthanded Brotherhood, White Doves, Believers in Christ, Friends of God, Wanderers, their followers reportedly numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Ruthlessly persecuted by the authorities, they made up a spiritual underground, often hiding themselves from inquisitive eyes. A countrywide revolutionary sectarianism that rejected the state, the church, society, law, and even religious commandments, which they declared were abolished when the Holy Spirit descended to humanity.

The origin of Gnostic ideas in Russia is difficult to trace, but they appear to be an outgrowth of two powerful spiritual impulses in Russian religious history. The first is the Christian esoteric tradition preserved within the monastic communities of the Russian Orthodox Church. A mystical tradition going back by way of Greek Neoplatonism, Origin and Clement of Alexandria to St. John the “beloved disciple”. “Russian Orthodox mystical theology has bent more than a little in the direction of the Gnostic heresy,” notes the historian Maria Carlson.3 The second impulse originated with Essene and Manichean missionaries who reached Russia in the early centuries of the Christian era. An impulse later given new vitality by the Bogomils whose Gnostic teachings had gained a foothold in Russia by the thirteenth century.

By the end of the nineteenth century occult and Gnostic ideas enjoyed wide circulation among all segments of the Russian population. At one point the Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev (1874-1948) welcomed the Gnostics, urging “Gnosticism should be revived and should enter into our life for all time.”4 After the 1917 Revolution, Gnosticism, observed the Russian scholar Mikhail Agursky, “contributed considerably to Soviet culture and even influenced Soviet political life. Its foundations were laid before the revolution…[by] several gnostic trends in nineteenth century Russian culture.”

While Russian Gnostics rejected the world order and strove to live by the apostolic precept to hold “all things in common,”5 they were also profoundly aware of the approaching end of the age. “Russian popular Gnosticism had a very pronounced apocalyptic character,” says Mikhail Agursky. “Russian mystical sectarians lived in anticipation of a catastrophe. The degradation of human life demanded purifying fire from heaven, which would devour the new Sodom and Gomorrah and replace them with the Kingdom of God. Any revolution could easily be identified by such sectarians as this fire, regardless of its external form.”6

Russian Socialism

Bolshevik collectivism had roots in long-standing Russian values of individual self-sacrifice. The suffering, martyrdom, humility, and sacrifice of Christ was deeply embedded in the texture of Russian religious thought and practice, and the lives of Russian saints were a litany of suffering. The Old Believers, heretics in the eyes of the official church for their adherence to their own version of the truth, suffered persecution for centuries at the hands of the government and sought escape in mass immolation, colonization, and, finally, economic mutual aid.
— Robert C. Williams, The Other Bolsheviks

Alexander_Herzen_7.jpgAlexander Herzen (1812-1870), seen by many as the father of Russian socialism, was a friend and admirer of the French revolutionary Proudhon, who viewed himself as a Christian socialist. Proudhon worked intermittently all his adult life on a never completed study of the original teachings of Jesus Christ. Herzen also paid special attention to Russia’s persecuted religious sectarians. He printed a special supplement for the Old Believers, the mystic Christian traditionalists who had been driven out of the Russian Orthodox Church. Nicholas Chernyshevsky, another Russian socialist thinker of the nineteenth century, wrote an article in praise of the “fools for Christ’s sake” and defended members of the spiritual underground.

The Russian radicals of the 1800s, in the words of James H. Billington, looked upon “socialism as an outgrowth of suppressed traditions within heretical Christianity.”7 They saw the genesis of Russian socialism in the spiritual underground of the Gnostics and religious sectarians. One influential network of Russian socialists openly claimed to be rediscovering “the teaching of Christ in its original purity,” which “had as its basic doctrine charity and its aim the realisation of freedom and the destruction of private property.”8

ho.jpgNicholas Chernyshevsky (1828-1889), who spent much of his life in penal servitude, penned the utopian novel What Is To Be Done? as a vision of the future new society and a guidebook for the revolutionaries who would build it. Chernyshevsky wrote:

Then say to all: this is what will come to pass in the future, a radiant and beautiful future. Have love for it, strive toward it, work on behalf of it, bring it ever nearer, bear what you can from it into your present life. The more you can carry from that future into your present life, the more your life will be radiant and good, the richer it will be in happiness and pleasure.

Chernyshevsky’s novel inspired two generations of idealistic young radicals. Among them was Alexandre Ulianov, the beloved elder brother of V.I. Lenin. He was executed in 1887 for his part in the attempted assassination of Tsar Alexander III. Vladimir Lenin told how Chernyshevsky’s What Is To Be Done? “captivated my brother, and captivated me… It transformed me completely.” What impressed the future leader of the Russian Revolution was how Chernyshevsky:

not only demonstrated the necessity for every correctly thinking and really honest man to become a revolutionary, but also showed – even more importantly – what a revolutionary should be like, what his principles should be, how he must achieve his goals, what methods and means he should employ to realise them.9

Nicholas Berdyaev observed that the “Russian revolutionaries who were to be inspired by the ideas of Chernyshevsky present an interesting psychological problem. The best of Russian revolutionaries acquiesced during this earthly life in persecution, want, imprisonment, exile, penal servitude, execution, and they had no hope whatever of another life beyond this. The comparison with Christians of that time is almost disadvantageous to the latter; they highly cherished the blessings of this earthly life and counted upon the blessings of heavenly life.”10

Chernyshevsky, like those who followed him, was passionately committed to the power of reason. His philosophy firmly grounded in the materialist outlook and a sober utilitarianism. But in his life Chernyshevsky was the embodiment of self-abnegation, single-mindedness and asceticism. Like a true saint he asked nothing for himself, but wanted everything for the people as a whole. When the police officers took him into exile in Siberia they said, “Our orders were to bring a criminal and we are bringing a saint. “These two elements, the religious and the secular, the ascetic and the calculating,” writes historian Geoffrey Hosking, “remained in unresolved tension in his personality, but on the level of theory he sought a resolution in the idea of a social revolution to be promoted by the best people on the basis of personal example.”11

Inspired by Chernyshevsky, groups of young radicals emerged committed to the reconstruction of Russia as a federation of village communes and communally run factories. The reading list of one such revolutionary cell is revealing because it included the New Testament and histories of Russian Gnostic communities. The leader of the main radical circle in the Russian capital St. Petersburg spoke of founding “a religion of humanity.” He called his circle “an Order of Knights” and included in its ranks members of a Gnostic “God-manhood sect” which taught that each individual is potentially destined to become a god. It was not uncommon for the revolutionary call “liberty, equality, and fraternity” to be written on crosses, or for Russian revolutionaries to declare their belief in “Christ, St. Paul, and Chernyshevsky.”

The Russian socialists frequently visited religious sectarians and sought their support because of their history of alienation from the tsarist regime. Emil Dillon, an English journalist who had personal contact with several persecuted religious communities, reminds us:

Among the various revolutionary agencies which were at work… the most unpretending, indirect, and effective were certain religious sectarians…. Coercion in religious matters did more to spread political disaffection than the most enterprising revolutionary propagandists. It turned the best spirits of the nation against the tripartite system of God, Tsar, and fatherland, and convinced even average people not only that there was no lifegiving principle in the State, but that no faculty of the individual or the nation had room left for unimpeded growth.12

 V.I. Lenin & The Spiritual Underground

Men who are participating in a great social movement always picture their coming action as a battle in which their cause is certain to triumph. These constructions… I propose to call myths; the syndicalist “general strike” and Marx’s catastrophic revolution are such myths.
— Georges Sorel, 1906

Religious sectarians played a significant part in the formation of Bolshevism, V.I. Lenin’s unique brand of revolutionary Marxism. Indeed, Marxism with its aggressive commitment to atheism and scientific materialism, scorned all religion as “the opium of the people.” Yet this did not prevent some Bolshevic leaders from utilising concepts taken directly from occultism and radical Gnosticism. Nor did the obvious materialist outlook of Communism, as Bolshevism became known, stop Russia’s spiritual underground from giving valuable patronage to Lenin’s revolutionary cause.

One of Vladimir Lenin’s early supporters was the radical Russian journalist V. A. Posse, who edited a Marxist journal Zhizn’ (Life) from Geneva. Zhizn’ aimed to enlist the support of Russia’s burgeoning dissident religious communities in the fight to overthrow the tsarist autocracy. Posse’s publishing enterprise received the backing of V.D. Bonch-Bruevich, a Marxist revolutionary and importantly a specialist on Russian Gnostic sects. Through Bonch-Bruevich’s connections to the spiritual underground of Old Believers and Gnostics, Posse secured important financial help for Zhizn’.

The goal of Zhizn’ was to reach a broad peasant and proletarian audience of readers that would some day constitute a popular front against the hated Russian government. Lenin soon began contributing articles to Zhizn’. To Posse, Lenin appeared like some kind of mystic sectarian, a Gnostic radical, whose asceticism was exceeded only by his self-confidence. Both Bonch-Bruevich and Posse were impressed by Lenin’s zeal to build an effective revolutionary party. Lenin disdained religion and showed little interest in the ‘religious’ orientation of Zhizn’. The Russian Marxist thinker Plekhanov, one of Lenin’s early mentors, openly expressed his hostility to the journal’s ‘religious’ bent. He wrote to Lenin complaining that Zhizn’, “on almost every page talks about Christ and religion. In public I shall call it an organ of Christian socialism.”

The Zhizn’ publishing enterprise came to an end in 1902 and its operations were effectively transferred into Lenin’s hands. This led to the organisation in 1903-1904 of the very first Bolshevic publishing house by Bonch-Bruevich and Lenin. Both men viewed the Russian sectarians as valuable revolutionary allies. As one scholar notes, “Russian religious dissent appealed to Bolshevism even before that movement had acquired a name.”13

5325987-a-stamp-printed-in-the-ussr-show-mikhail-bonch-bruevich-soviet-radio-engineerings-the-founder-of-the.jpgV.D. Bonch-Bruevich (1873-1955) came to revolutionary Marxism under the influence of the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy’s social teachings. Like Lenin’s wife Krupskaya, he started his revolutionary career distributing Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is within You, a work infused with neo-Gnostic themes. In 1899 Bonch-Bruevich left Russia for Canada to live among the Doukhobors, Russian Gnostic communists whose refusal to pay taxes and serve in the army drove them into exile. Bonch-Bruevich reported on the secret doctrines of the Doukhobors and put in writing their fundamental oral teachings known as the ‘Living Book’. On his return to Europe in 1901 Bonch-Bruevich introduced Lenin to the chief tenets of these Gnostic communists. The Doukhobors, with their radical rejection of the Church and State, with their denial of the uniqueness of the historical Christ, and their neglect of the Bible in favour of their own secret tradition, were of some interest to the founder of Bolshevism.

In 1904 Bonch-Bruevich, with Lenin’s support, began publishing Rassvet (Dawn) in an effort to spread revolutionary Marxism among the religious dissidents. His first editorial attacked all the Russian tsars for their persecution of the Old Believers and sectarians, and stated that the journal’s goal was to report events occurring world wide, “in various corners of our vast motherland, and among the ranks of Sectarians and Schismatics.” Rassvet combined Communist and apocalyptic themes that were both compelling and comprehensible to Russia’s spiritual underground.

By the early years of the twentieth century Russia was in a revolutionary mood. Bonch-Bruevich wrote that this would soon produce a “street battle of the awakened people.” He urged his fellow Communist revolutionaries to use the language of the spiritual underground in persuading the masses that the government was “Satan” and that “all men are brothers” in the eyes of God. He wrote:

If the proletariat-sectarian in his speech requires the word ‘devil’, then identify this old concept of an evil principle with capitalism, and identify the word ‘Christ’, as a concept of eternal good, happiness, and freedom, with socialism.

 Communist God-Builders  & The Occult

If a newcomer to the vast quantity of occult literature begins browsing at random, puzzlement and impatience will soon be his lot; for he will find jumbled together the droppings of all cultures, and occasional fragments of philosophy perhaps profound but almost certainly subversive to right living in the society in which he finds himself. The occult is rejected knowledge: that is, an Underground whose basic unity is that of Opposition to an establishment of Powers That Are.
— James Webb, Occult Underground

A Marxist pamphlet written before 1917 and later reissued by the Soviet government bluntly declared that man is destined to “take possession of the universe and extend his species into distant cosmic regions, taking over the whole solar system. Human beings will be immortal.” Anatoly Lunacharsky, the first Commissar of Enlightenment in the new Soviet state, believed that as religious conviction had been a great force of change in history, Marxists should conceive the struggle to transform nature through labor as their form of devotion, and the spirit of collective humanity as their god.

lunacharski_.jpgA.V. Lunacharsky (1875-1933) and the Russian writer Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), close friends of Vladimir Lenin, were acquainted with a broad spectrum of occult thought, including Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophy. Both these prominent Bolshevic revolutionaries shared a life-long interest in ancient mystery cults, religious sectarianism, parapsychology and Gnosticism. Maria Carlson maintains that Gorky’s “vision of a New Nature and a New World, subsequently assimilated to its socialist expression as the Radiant Future, is fundamentally Theosophic.”14 Gorky valued the writings of the occultists Emanuel Swedenborg and Paracelsus, as well as those of Fabre d’Olivet and Eduard Schure.

Drawing on the imagery of the ancient solar mysteries, Gorky declared in Children of the Sun, “we people are the children of the sun, the bright source of life; we are born of the sun and will vanquish the murky fear of death.” In his Confession, the “people” have become God, creators of miracles, possessors of true religious consciousness, and immortal. Gorky envisioned a beautiful future of work for the love of work and of man as “master of all things.” Revealing his familiarity with parapsychology and faith healing, Gorky tells how an assembled crowd uses its collective energy to heal a paralysed girl. He was deeply impressed by research into thought transference, often writing of the “miraculous power of thought”, while expressing the hope that one day reason and science would end fear.

The ideas advanced by Lunacharsky and Gorky became known as God building, described by one researcher as a “movement of secular rejuvenation with mystery cult aspects.”15 God building implied that a human collective, through the concentration of released human energy, can perform the same miracles that were assigned to supra-natural beings. God builders regarded early Christianity as an authentic example of collective God building, Christ being nothing other than the focus of collective human energy. “The time will come,” said Gorky, “when all popular will shall once again amalgamate in one point. Then an invincible and miraculous power will emerge, and God will be resurrected.”16 Years before, Fyodor Dostoyevsky had written in The Possessed, “God is the synthetic personality of the whole people.” According to Mikhail Agursky:

For Gorky, God-building was first of all a theurgical action, the creation of the new Nature and the annihilation of the old, and therefore it coincided fully with the Kingdom of the Spirit. He considered God to be a theurgical outcome of a collective work, the outcome of human unity and of the negation of the human ego.17

Before the Russian Revolution, Lunacharsky’s political propaganda relied heavily on words and images ultimately derived from Russian Gnostics and religious sectarians. In one pamphlet he urged readers to refuse to pay taxes or serve in the army, to form local revolutionary committees, to demand ownership of their land, overthrow the autocracy and replace it with a “brotherly society” of socialism. Indeed, there was as much attention given to Christ as to Marx in Lunacharsky’s writings. “Christianity, in all its forms, even the purest and most progressive,” he wrote, “is the ideology of the downtrodden classes, the hopelessly immobile, those who cannot believe in their own powers; Christianity is also a weapon of exploitation.” But Lunacharsky realised there is also an underground spiritual tradition, the arcane language and symbols of which might be used to mobilise the people to carry out the revolution.

Occult elements are obvious in Lunacharsky’s early plays and poems, including a reference to the “astral spirit”, and a familiarity with white magic and demonology. He discussed Gnosticism, the Logos, Pythagoras, and solar cults in his two volume work Religion and Socialism. After the Bolshevic Revolution, Lunacharsky wrote an occult play called Vasilisa the Wise. This was to be followed by a never published “dramatic poem” entitled Mitra the Saviour, a clear reference to the pre-Christian occult deity. Significantly, it is Lunacharsky, along with the scholar of Russian Gnostic sects V.D. Bonch-Bruevich, who is credited with developing the so-called “cult of Lenin” which dominated Soviet life following the Bolshevic leaders’ death in 1924.

 Soviet Power & Spiritual Revolution

A Weltanschauung has conquered a state, and emanating from this state it will slowly shatter the entire world and bring about its collapse. Bolshevism, if unchecked, will change the world as completely as Christianity did. Three hundred years from now it will no longer be said that it is merely a question of organising production in a different way… If this movement continues to develop, Lenin, three hundred years from now, will be regarded not only as one of the revolutionaries of 1917, but as the founder of a new world doctrine, and he will be worshipped as much perhaps as Buddha.
— Adolf Hitler, 193218

In the wake of the total collapse of Imperial Russia and the devastation caused by the First World War, Lenin and the Bolshevics seized power in October 1917. A revolution that would not have been possible without the active support and participation of the Russian spiritual underground. The Bolshevics, in the opinion of one Russian scholar:

most probably would not have been able to take power or to consolidate it if the multimillion masses of Russian sectarians had not taken part in the total destruction brought about by the revolution, which acquired a mystical character for them. To them the state and the church were receptacles of all kinds of evil, and their destruction and debasement were regarded as a mystic duty, exactly as it was with the [medieval Gnostic sects of] Anabaptists, Bogomils, Cathars, and Taborites.19

Ground down by centuries of autocratic tsarist rule as well as the Orthodox Church, its mere appendage, the Russian people came to accept the Communism of Lenin. “Bolshevism is a Russian word,” wrote an anti-Communist Russian in 1919. “But not only a word. Because in that guise, in that form and in those manifestations which have crystallized in Russia… Bolshevism is a uniquely Russian phenomenon, with deep ties to the Russian soul.”20 Even the Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Goebbels, who built his political career fighting Communism, confessed that no tsar had ever understood the Russian people as deeply as Lenin, who gave them what they wanted most – land and freedom.

Lenin wedded the dialectical materialism of Marx to the deep-rooted tradition of Russian socialism permeated as it was by Gnostic, apocalyptic, and messianic elements. In the same manner he reconciled the Marxist commitment to science, atheism and technological progress with the Russian ideas of justice, truth and self-sacrifice for the collective. Similarly the leader of Bolshevism merged the Marxist call for proletarian internationalism and world revolution with the centuries old notion of Russia’s great mission as the harbinger of universal brotherhood. Violently opposed to all religion, atheistic Bolshevism drew much from the spiritual underground, becoming in the words of one of Lenin’s comrades, “the most religious of all religions.”

“Nonetheless we have studied Marxism a bit,” wrote Lenin, “we have studied how and when opposites can and must be combined. The main thing is: in our revolution… we have in practice repeatedly combined opposites.” Several centuries earlier the Muslim Gnostic teacher Jalalladin Rumi pointed out, “It is necessary to note that opposite things work together even though nominally opposed.”

After the 1917 Bolshevic Revolution:

occultism was part of a cluster of ideas that inspired a mystical revolutionism based on the belief that great earthly events such as revolution reflect a realignment of cosmic forces. Revolution, then, had eschatological significance. Its result would be a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ peopled by a new kind of human being and characterized by a new kind of society cemented by love, common ideals, and sacrifice.

The Bolshevic Revolution did not quash interest in the occult. Some pre-revolutionary occult ideas and symbols were transformed along more ‘scientific’ lines. Mingled with compatible concepts, they permeated early Soviet art, literature, thought, and science. Soviet political activists who did not believe in the occult used symbols, themes, and techniques drawn from it for agitation and propaganda. Further transformed, some of them were incorporated in the official culture of Stalin’s time.21

Apocalyptic and mess-ianic themes, popularised for centuries by the Russian spiritual underground, were played out in the Bolshevic Revolution and fueled the drive to build a classless, communist society. The dream of a communist paradise on earth created by human hands, a new world adorned by technological perfection, social justice and brotherhood, was found both in Marx and in the Russian spiritual underground.

Lenin promulgated a law exempting religious sectarians from military service. Writers and poets, drawing inspiration from the Russian religious underground, hailed the Revolution as a messianic, world mystery. One writer compared the Bolshevic Revolution with the origin of Christianity. “Christ was followed,” he exclaimed, “not by professors, nor by virtuous philosophers, nor by shopkeepers. Christ was followed by rascals. And the revolution will also be followed by rascals, apart from those who launched it. And one must not be afraid of this.”

alexander_blok.jpgAlexander Blok (1880-1921) was the most important Russian poet to recognise the Bolshevics. A student of Gnosticism, Blok discerned the inner meaning of the tumultuous political and social events. There was a hidden spiritual content at the core of the external upheavals of the Revolution and the bloody Civil War that followed. Blok clearly expressed this in his famous poem The Twelve, where the invisible Christ leads the revolutionary march.

Another Russian poet and occultist, Andrei Bely, a disciple of Steiner’s Anthroposophical movement, hailed the Revolution as the first stage of a far greater cultural and spiritual revolution to come. For Bely, as for his contemporary Blok, the Bolshevic Revolution was above all a powerful theurgical instrument. Andrei Bely (1880-1934) saw theurgy as a means to change the world actively in collaboration with God. In spite of the turmoil and bloodshed, for these Russian occultists the revolution served as an instrument of the new creation. Bely celebrated the 1917 Revolution in a poem, Christ is Resurrected, in which the Bolshevic take over is compared with the mystery of Crucifixion and Resurrection. Rudolf Steiner understood why the Russians welcomed the October Revolution, but criticised Bolshevism as a dangerous mix of Western abstract thinking and Eastern mysticism.

The Russian spiritual underground spawned several important writers and poets who welcomed the Bolshevic Revolution. Two of the most outstanding were Nikolai Kliuev (1887-1937) and Sergei Esenin (1895-1925). Occult images and Russian messianic themes abound in their poems. Kliuev saw Lenin as the popular leader and embodiment of the Old Belief. In typically Gnostic fashion Esenin disdained the old God of the Church and proclaimed a “new Nazareth”. The young Esenin gave support to the Bolshevic Red Army and even tried to join the Bolshevic party. Tragically, Kliuev felt betrayed by the Revolution, was arrested and died on the way to a labor camp in 1937. Esenin took his own life in 1925 believing dark forces had usurped the Russian Revolution.

By the early 1920s the Bolshevics had consolidated their hold over much of the former Russian Empire. The Communist Party emerged as the monolithic embodiment of the popular will. All occult societies, including the Theosophists and Anthroposophists, were disbanded. Freemasonry was virulently condemned and its lodges closed. In the drive to modernise Russia and build a technologically advanced Soviet Union, occult notions were publicly classed as superstition and openly ridiculed. The new Soviet State, with its Marxist-Leninist ideology, became the sole arbitrator of all thought. Leading occult teachers were forced into exile. Yet many of those associated with the spiritual underground joined the Communist Party and found employment in various Soviet organisations.

The sway of the spiritual underground did not disappear. Arcane truths and primordial urges took on new forms in keeping with the new reality. Esoteric ideas were clothed in the language of a new epoch. One writer explains:

In Stalin’s time, occult themes and techniques detached from their doctrinal base became part of the official culture…. The occult themes of Soviet literature of the 1920s were transformed into the magical or fantastic elements that observers have noted in Socialist Realism. Stalin himself was invested with occult powers.22

The Russian thinker, Isai Lezhnev (1891-1955), insisted on the profoundly religious character of Communism, which was “equal to atheism only in a narrow theological sense.” Emotionally, psychologically, Bolshevism was extremely religious, seeing itself as the only custodian of absolute truth. Lezhnev correctly discerned in Bolshevism the rise of a “new religion” which brought with it a new culture and political order. He embraced Marxism-Leninism and welcomed Stalin as a manifestation of the “popular spirit”.

The Russian Revolution, which gave rise to the super power known as the Soviet Union, cast a gigantic shadow over the twentieth century. Bolshevism, the materialistic worldview developed by Vladimir Lenin, left its mark on all aspects of modern thought. And the roots of Lenin’s Communism and the Soviet Union go deep into the ancient secret tradition of humanity.

Was atheistic Bolshevism, for all its worship of science and materialism, the expression of something supra-natural? Many in the spiritual underground passionately believed so. The Gnostic poet Valery Briusov (1873-1924), who joined the Bolshevic party in 1920, had been involved in magick, occultism and spiritualism prior to the revolution. Briusov stressed that Russia’s destiny was being worked out, not on earth, but by mystic forces for which the 1917 Revolution was part of the occult plot.

Another prominent Russian occultist, the acclaimed artist Nicholas Roerich, acknowledged Lenin and Communism as cosmic phenomenon. In 1926 he wrote:

He [Lenin] incorporated and circumspectly fitted every material into the world order. This opened up for him the path into all parts of the world. And people have formed a legend not only as a record of his deeds but also as a mark of his aspirations…. We have seen for ourselves how the nations have understood the magnetic power of communism. Friends, the worst counsellor is negativity. Behind every negation ignorance is concealed.

The philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev, a former Marxist who came to embrace Christian mysticism, was exiled from the Soviet Union in the 1920s. He had studied occultism and was acquainted with many Russian Gnostic sects. His 1909 book The Philosophy of Freedom is full of Gnostic themes. And like the Gnostics, Berdyaev opposed the institution of the family as yoking men and women to “necessity” and the endless chain of birth and death. Writing from exile, more than twenty-five years after the Revolution, Berdyaev observed:

Russian communism is a distortion of the Russian messianic idea; it proclaims light from the East which is destined to enlighten the bourgeois darkness of the West. There is in communism its own truth and its own falsehood. Its truth is a social truth, a revelation of the possibility of the brotherhood of man and of peoples, the suppression of classes, whereas its falsehood lies in its spiritual foundations which result in a process of dehumanisation, in the denial of the worth of the individual man, in the narrowing of human thought…. Communism is a Russian phenomenon in spite of its Marxist ideology. Communism is the Russian destiny, it is a moment in the inner destiny of the Russian people and it must be lived through by the inward strength of the Russian people. Communism must be surmounted but not destroyed, and into the highest stage which will come after communism there must enter the truth of communism also but freed from its element of falsehood. The Russian Revolution awakened and unfettered the enormous powers of the Russian people. In this lies its principle meaning.23


The Hammer and Sickle: Occult Symbols?

Throughout the twentieth century the hammer and sickle were universally recognised as symbols of communism and the Soviet Union. For millions of people the hammer and sickle symbolised a new political and economic order offering progress, justice and liberty. While countless others looked on the same hammer and sickle as ominous emblems of oppression, hatred and tyranny.

Occultists and students of ancient wisdom saw something more. Behind the outward appearance of these communist emblems, which officially represented the emancipation of labor, there was an element unknown to the masses.

Russian occultists saw the Bolshevics as unconsciously working for the cosmic mission of Russia and interpreted the Soviet hammer and sickle as hidden symbols of the blacksmith’s art, hinting at future transmutation and transformation. Both metallurgy and alchemy (regarded as an occult science) sort to destroy impure elements with fire and thereby release a refined product, whether forged metal (the smith) or spiritual gold (the alchemist). Fire is associated with transfiguration, regeneration, and purification, while iron is associated with Mars (the god of war) and the astral world.

To the occultist, the communist hammer and sickle symbolised conflict and transmutation. The forging – in the fires of struggle – of base elements into a purer, higher form. The atheistic Bolshevic, like the occultist, proclaimed that ordinary man must be transformed into new man, free of the bonds of selfish desires and of the oppressive past, in order to freely build the new civilisation of the future.


1. Benjamin Walker, Gnosticism Its History & Influence

2. James Webb, Occult Underground

3. Maria Carlson, No Religion Higher Than Truth

4. As quoted in Maria Carlson, No Religion Higher Than Truth

5. Acts 2:44-47

6. Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

7. James H. Billington, The Icon and the Axe

8. As quoted in James H. Billington, The Icon and the Axe

9. As quoted in Nina Tumarkin, Lenin Lives: The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia

10. Nicholas Berdyaev, The Russian Idea

11. Geoffrey Hosking, Russia: People and Empire

12. As quoted in Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

13. Robert C. Williams, The Other Bolsheviks

14. Maria Carlson, No Religion Higher Than Truth

15. Richard Noll, The Jung Cult

16. Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

17. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal

18. As quoted in Hitler’s Words, edited by Gordon Prange

19. Mikhail Agursky, The Third Rome

20. As quoted in Richard Pipes, Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime 1919-1924

21. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal

22. Ibid

23. Nicholas Berdyaev, The Russian Idea

samedi, 09 novembre 2013

Wall Street & the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution


Wall Street & the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution

By Kerry Bolton 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

My last article [2] documented the funding of the March 1917 Revolution in Russia.[1] The primary financier of the Russian revolutionary movement 1905–1917 was Jacob Schiff, of Kuhn Loeb and Co., New York. In particular Schiff had provided the money for the distribution of revolutionary propaganda among Russians prisoners-of-war in Japan in 1905 by the American journalist George Kennan who, more than any other individual, was responsible for turning American public and official opinion against Czarist Russia. Kennan subsequently related that it was thanks to Schiff that 50,000 Russian soldiers were revolutionized and formed the cadres that laid the basis for the March 1917 Revolution and, we might add–either directly or indirectly–the consequent Bolshevik coup of November. The reaction of bankers from Wall Street and The City towards the overthrow of the Czar was enthusiastic.

This article deals with the funding of the subsequent Bolshevik coup eight months later which, as paradoxical as it might seem to those who know nothing of history other than the orthodox version, was also greeted cordially by banking circles in Wall Street and elsewhere.

Apologists for the bankers and other highly-placed individuals who supported the Bolsheviks from the earliest stages of the communist takeover, either diplomatically or financially, justify the support for this mass application of psychopathology as being motivated by patriotic sentiment, in trying to thwart German influence over the Bolsheviks and to keep Russia in the war against Germany. Because Lenin and his entourage had been able to enter Russia courtesy of the German High Command on the basis that a Bolshevik regime would withdraw Russia from the war, Wall Street capitalists explained that their patronage of the Bolsheviks was motivated by the highest ideals of pro-Allied sentiment. Hence, William Boyce Thompson in particular stated that by funding Bolshevik propaganda for distribution in Germany and Austria this would undermine the war effort of those countries, while his assistance to the Bolsheviks in Russia was designed to swing them in favor of the Allies.

These protestations of patriotic motivations ring hollow. International banking is precisely what it is called–international, or globalist as such forms of capitalism are now called. Not only have these banking forms and other forms of big business had overlapping directorships and investments for generations, but they are often related through intermarriage. While Max Warburg of the Warburg banking house in Germany advised the Kaiser and while the German Government arranged for funding and safe passage of Lenin and his entourage from Switzerland across Germany to Russia;[2] his brother Paul,[3] a partner of Jacob Schiff’s at Wall Street, looked after the family interests in New York. The primary factor that was behind the bankers’ support for the Bolsheviks whether from London,[4] New York, Stockholm,[5] or Berlin, was to open up the underdeveloped resources of Russia to the world market, just as in our own day George Soros, the money speculator, funds the so-called “color revolutions” to bring about “regime change” that facilitates the opening up of resources to global exploitation. Hence there can no longer be any doubt that international capital a plays a major role in fomenting revolutions, because Soros plays the well-known modern-day equivalent of Jacob Schiff.

Recognition of Bolsheviks Pushed by Bankers

This aim of international finance, whether centered in Germany, England or the USA, to open up Russia to capitalist exploitation by supporting the Bolsheviks, was widely commented on at the time by a diversity of well-informed sources, including Allied intelligence agencies, and of particular interest by two very different individuals, Henry Wickham Steed, editor of The London Times, and Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor.

On May 1, 1922 The New York Times reported that Gompers, reacting to negotiations at the international economic conference at Genoa, declared that a group of “predatory international financiers” were working for the recognition of the Bolshevik regime for the opening up of resources for exploitation. Despite the rhetoric by New York and London bankers during the war that a Russian revolution would serve the Allied cause, Gompers opined that this was an “Anglo-American-German banking group,” and that they were “international bankers” who did not adhere to any national allegiance. He also noted that prominent Americans who had a history of anti-labor attitudes were advocating recognition of the Bolshevik regime.[6]

What Gompers claimed, was similarly expressed by Henry Wickham Steed of The London Times, based on his observations. In a first-hand account of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Steed stated that proceedings were interrupted by the return from Moscow of William C. Bullitt and Lincoln Steffens, “who had been sent to Russia towards the middle of February by Colonel House and Mr. Lansing, for the purpose of studying conditions, political and economic, therein for the benefit of the American Commissioners plenipotentiary to negotiate peace.”[7] Steed also refers to British Prime Minister Lloyd George as being likely to have known of the Mission and its purpose. Steed stated that international finance was behind the move for recognition of the Bolshevik regime and other moves in favor of the Bolsheviks, and specifically identified Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., New York, as one of the principal bankers “eager to secure recognition”:

Potent international financial interests were at work in favor of the immediate recognition of the Bolshevists. Those influences had been largely responsible for the Anglo-American proposal in January to call Bolshevist representatives to Paris at the beginning of the Peace Conference—a proposal which had failed after having been transformed into a suggestion for a Conference with the Bolshevists at Prinkipo. . . . The well-known American Jewish banker, Mr. Jacob Schiff, was known to be anxious to secure recognition for the Bolshevists . . .[8]

In return for diplomatic recognition, Tchitcherin, the Bolshevist Commissary for Foreign Affairs, was offering “extensive commercial and economic concessions.”

Wickham Steed with the support of The Times’ proprietor, Lord Northcliffe, exposed the machinations of international finance to obtain the recognition of the Bolshevik regime, which still had a very uncertain future.

Steed related that he was called upon by US President Wilson’s primary adviser, Edward Mandel House, who was concerned at Steed’s exposé of the relationship between Bolshevists and international financers:

That day Colonel House asked me to call upon him. I found him worried both by my criticism of any recognition of the Bolshevists and by the certainty, which he had not previously realized, that if the President were to recognize the Bolshevists in return for commercial concessions his whole “idealism” would be hopelessly compromised as commercialism in disguise. I pointed out to him that not only would Wilson be utterly discredited but that the League of Nations would go by the board, because all the small peoples and many of the big peoples of Europe would be unable to resist the Bolshevism which Wilson would have accredited.[9]

Steed stated to House that it was Jacob Schiff, Warburg and other bankers who were behind the diplomatic moves in favor of the Bolsheviks:

I insisted that, unknown to him, the prime movers were Jacob Schiff, Warburg, and other international financiers, who wished above all to bolster up the Jewish Bolshevists in order to secure a field for German and Jewish exploitation of Russia.[10]

Steed here indicates an uncharacteristic naïveté in thinking that House would not have known of the plans of Schiff, Warburg, et al. House was throughout his career close to these bankers and was involved with them in setting up a war-time think tank called The Inquiry, and following the war the creation of the Council on Foreign Relations, in order to shape an internationalist post-war foreign policy. It was Schiff and Paul Warburg and other Wall Street bankers who called on House in 1913 to get House’s support for the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank.[11]

House in Machiavellian manner asked Steed to compromise; to support humanitarian aid supposedly for the benefit of all Russians. Steed agreed to consider this, but soon after talking with House found out that British Prime Minister Lloyd George and Wilson were to proceed with recognition the following day. Steed therefore wrote the leading article for the Paris Daily Mail of March 28th, exposing the maneuvers and asking how a pro-Bolshevik attitude was consistent with Pres. Wilson’s declared moral principles for the post-war world?

. . . Who are the tempters that would dare whisper into the ears of the Allied and Associated Governments? They are not far removed from the men who preached peace with profitable dishonour to the British people in July, 1914. They are akin to, if not identical with, the men who sent Trotsky and some scores of associate desperadoes to ruin the Russian Revolution as a democratic, anti-German force in the spring of 1917.[12]

Here Steed does not seem to have been aware that some of the same bankers who were supporting the Bolsheviks had also supported the March Revolution.

Charles Crane,[13] who had recently talked with President Wilson, told Steed that Wilson was about to recognize the Bolsheviks, which would result in a negative public opinion in the USA and destroy Wilson’s post-War internationalist aims. Significantly Crane also identified the pro-Bolshevik faction as being that of Big Business, stating to Steed: “Our people at home will certainly not stand for the recognition of the Bolshevists at the bidding of Wall Street.” Steed was again seen by House, who stated that Steed’s article in the Paris Daily Mail, “had got under the President’s hide.” House asked that Steed postpone further exposés in the press, and again raised the prospect of recognition based on humanitarian aid. Lloyd George was also greatly perturbed by Steed’s articles in the Daily Mail and complained that he could not undertake a “sensible” policy towards the Bolsheviks while the press had an anti-Bolshevik attitude.[14]

Thompson and the American Red Cross Mission

As mentioned, House attempted to persuade Steed on the idea of relations with Bolshevik Russia ostensibly for the purpose of humanitarian aid for the Russian people. This had already been undertaken just after the Bolshevik Revolution, when the regime was far from certain, under the guise of the American Red Cross Mission. Col. William Boyce Thompson, a director of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, organized and largely funded the Mission, with other funding coming from International Harvester, which gave $200,000. The so-called Red Cross Mission was largely comprised of business personnel, and was according to Thompson’s assistant, Cornelius Kelleher, “nothing but a mask” for business interests.[15] Of the 24 members, five were doctors and two were medical researchers. The rest were lawyers and businessmen associated with Wall Street. Dr. Billings nominally headed the Mission.[16] Prof. Antony Sutton of the Hoover Institute stated that the Mission provided assistance for revolutionaries:

We know from the files of the U.S. embassy in Petrograd that the U.S. Red Cross gave 4,000 rubles to Prince Lvoff, president of the Council of Ministers, for “relief of revolutionists” and 10,000 rubles in two payments to Kerensky for “relief of political refugees.”[17]

The original intention of the Mission, hastily organized by Thompson in light of revolutionary events, was ‘”nothing less than to shore up the Provisional regime,” according to the historian William Harlane Hale, formerly of the United States Foreign Service.[18] The support for the social revolutionaries indicates that the same bankers who backed the Kerensky regime and the March Revolution also supported the Bolsheviks, and it seems reasonable to opine that these financiers considered Kerensky a mere prelude for the Bolshevik coup, as the following indicates.

Thompson set himself up in royal manner in Petrograd reporting directly to Pres. Wilson and bypassing US Ambassador Francis. Thompson provided funds from his own money, first to the Social Revolutionaries, to whom he gave one million rubles,[19] and shortly after $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviks to spread their propaganda to Germany and Austria.[20] Thompson met Thomas Lamont of J. P. Morgan Co. in London to persuade the British War Cabinet to drop its anti-Bolshevik policy. On his return to the USA Thompson undertook a tour advocating US recognition of the Bolsheviks.[21] Thompson’s deputy Raymond Robbins had been pressing for recognition of the Bolsheviks, and Thompson agreed that the Kerensky regime was doomed and consequently “sped to Washington to try and swing the Administration onto a new policy track,” meeting resistance from Wilson, who was being pressure by Ambassador Francis.[22]

The “Bolshevik of Wall Street”

Such was Thompson’s enthusiasm for Bolshevism that he was nicknamed “the Bolshevik of Wall Street” by his fellow plutocrats. Thompson gave a lengthy interview with The New York Times just after his four month tour with the American Red Cross Mission, lauding the Bolsheviks and assuring the American public that the Bolsheviks were not about to make a separate peace with Germany.[23] The article is an interesting indication of how Wall Street viewed their supposedly “deadly enemies,” the Bolsheviks, at a time when their position was very precarious. Thompson stated that while the “reactionaries,” if they assumed power, might seek peace with Germany, the Bolsheviki would not. “His opinion is that Russia needs America, that America must stand by Russia,” stated the Times. Thompson is quoted: “The Bolsheviki peace aims are the same as those of the Untied States.” Thompson alluded to Wilson’s speech to the United States Congress on Russia as “a wonderful meeting of the situation,” but that the American public “know very little about the Bolsheviki.” The Times stated:

Colonel Thompson is a banker and a capitalist, and he has large manufacturing interests. He is not a sentimentalist nor a “radical.” But he has come back from his official visit to Russia in absolute sympathy with the Russian democracy as represented by the Bolsheviki at present.

Hence at this time Thompson was trying to sell the Bolsheviks as “democrats,” implying that they were part of the same movement as the Kerensky regime that they had overthrown. While Thompson did not consider Bolshevism the final form of government, he did see it as the most promising step towards a “representative government” and that it was the “duty” of the USA to “sympathize” with and “aid” Russia “through her days of crisis.” He stated that in reply to surprise at his pro-Bolshevik sentiments he did not mind being called “red” if that meant sympathy for 170,000,000 people “struggling for liberty and fair living.” Thompson also saw that while the Bolsheviki had entered a “truce” with Germany, they were also spreading Bolshevik doctrines among the German people, which Thompson called “their ideals of freedom” and their “propaganda of democracy.” Thompson lauded the Bolshevik Government as being the equivalent to America’s democracy, stating:

The present government in Russia is a government of workingmen. It is a Government by the majority, and, because our Government is a government of the majority, I don’t see how it can fail to support the Government of Russia.

Thompson saw the prospects of the Bolshevik Government being transformed as it incorporated a more Centrist position and included employers. If Bolshevism did not proceed thus, then “God help the world,” warned Thompson. Given that this was a time when Lenin and Trotsky held sway over the regime, subsequently to become the most enthusiastic advocates of opening Russia up to foreign capital (New Economic Policy) prospects seemed good for a joint Capitalist-Bolshevik venture with no indication that an upstart named Stalin would throw a spanner in the works.

The Times article ends: “At home in New York, the Colonel has received the good-natured title of ‘the Bolshevik of Wall Street.’”[24] It was against this background that it can now be understood why labor leader Samuel Gompers denounced Bolshevism as a tool of “predatory international finance,” while arch-capitalist Thompson lauded it as “a government of working men.”

The Council on Foreign Relations Report

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) had been established in 1921 by President Wilson’s chief adviser Edward Mandel House out of a previous think tank called The Inquiry, formed in 1917–1918 to advise President Wilson on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. It was this conference about which Steed had detailed his observations when he stated that there were financial interests trying to secure the recognition of the Bolsheviks.[25]

Peter Grose in his semi-official history of the CFR writes of it as a think tank combining academe and big business that had emerged from The Inquiry group.[26] Therefore the CFR report on Soviet Russia at this early period is instructive as to the relationship that influential sections of the US Establishment wished to pursue in regard to the Bolshevik regime. Grosse writes of this period:

Awkward in the records of The Inquiry had been the absence of a single study or background paper on the subject of Bolshevism. Perhaps this was simply beyond the academic imagination of the times. Not until early 1923 could the Council summon the expertise to mobilize a systematic examination of the Bolshevik regime, finally entrenched after civil war in Russia. The impetus for this first study was Lenin’s New Economic Policy, which appeared to open the struggling Bolshevik economy to foreign investment. Half the Council’s study group were members drawn from firms that had done business in pre-revolutionary Russia, and the discussions about the Soviet future were intense. The concluding report dismissed “hysterical” fears that the revolution would spill outside Russia’s borders into central Europe or, worse, that the heady new revolutionaries would ally with nationalistic Muslims in the Middle East to evict European imperialism. The Bolsheviks were on their way to “sanity and sound business practices,” the Council study group concluded, but the welcome to foreign concessionaires would likely be short-lived. Thus, the Council experts recommended in March 1923 that American businessmen get into Russia while Lenin’s invitation held good, make money on their investments, and then get out as quickly as possible. A few heeded the advice; not for seven decades would a similar opportunity arise.[27]

However, financial interests had already moved into Soviet Russia from the beginning of the Bolshevik regime.

The Vanderlip Concession

H. G. Wells, historian, novelist, and Fabian-socialist, observed first-hand the relationship between Communism and big business when he had visited Bolshevik Russia. Travelling to Russia in 1920 where he interviewed Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders, Wells hoped that the Western Powers and in particular the USA would come to the Soviets’ aid. Wells also met there “Mr. Vanderlip” who was negotiating business contracts with the Soviets. Wells commented of the situation he would like to see developing, and as a self-described “collectivist” made a telling observation on the relationship between Communism and “Big Business”:

The only Power capable of playing this role of eleventh-hour helper to Russia single-handed is the United States of America. That is why I find the adventure of the enterprising and imaginative Mr. Vanderlip very significant. I doubt the conclusiveness of his negotiations; they are probably only the opening phase of a discussion of the Russian problem upon a new basis that may lead it at last to a comprehensive world treatment of this situation. Other Powers than the United States will, in the present phase of world-exhaustion, need to combine before they can be of any effective use to Russia. Big business is by no means antipathetic to Communism. The larger big business grows the more it approximates to Collectivism. It is the upper road of the few instead of the lower road of the masses to Collectivism.[28]

In addressing concerns that were being expressed among Bolshevik Party “activists” at a meeting of the Moscow Organization of the party, Lenin sought to reassure them that the Government was not selling out to foreign capitalism, but that, in view of what Lenin believed to be an inevitable war between the USA and Japan, a US interest in Kamchatka would be favorable to Soviet Russia as a defensive position against Japan. Such strategic considerations on the part of the US, it might be added, were also more relevant to US and other forms of so-called “intervention” during the Russian Civil War between the Red and the White Armies, than any desire to help the Whites overturn the Bolsheviks, let alone restore Czarism. Lenin said of Vanderlip to the Bolshevik cadres:

We must take advantage of the situation that has arisen. That is the whole purpose of the Kamchatka concessions. We have had a visit from Vanderlip, a distant relative of the well-known multimillionaire, if he is to he believed; but since our intelligence service, although splendidly organized, unfortunately does not yet extend to the United States of America, we have not yet established the exact kinship of these Vanderlips. Some even say there is no kinship at all. I do not presume to judge: my knowledge is confined to having read a book by Vanderlip, not the one that was in our country and is said to be such a very important person that he has been received with all the honors by kings and ministers—from which one must infer that his pocket is very well lined indeed. He spoke to them in the way people discuss matters at meetings such as ours, for instance, and told then in the calmest tones how Europe should be restored. If ministers spoke to him with so much respect, it must mean that Vanderlip is in touch with the multimillionaires.[29]

Of the meeting with Vanderlip, Lenin indicated that it was based on a secret diplomacy that was being denied by the US Administration, while Vandrelip returned to the USA, like other capitalists such as Thompson, praising the Bolsheviks. Lenin continued:

. . . I expressed the hope that friendly relations between the two states would be a basis not only for the granting of a concession, but also for the normal development of reciprocal economic assistance. It all went off in that kind of vein. Then telegrams came telling what Vanderlip had said on arriving home from abroad. Vanderlip had compared Lenin with Washington and Lincoln. Vanderlip had asked for my autographed portrait. I had declined, because when you present a portrait you write, “To Comrade So-and-so,” and I could not write, “To Comrade Vanderlip.” Neither was it possible to write: “To the Vanderlip we are signing a concession with” because that concession agreement would be concluded by the Administration when it took office. I did not know what to write. It would have been illogical to give my photograph to an out-and-out imperialist. Yet these were the kind of telegrams that arrived; this affair has clearly played a certain part in imperialist politics. When the news of the Vanderlip concessions came out, Harding—the man who has been elected President, but who will take office only next March—issued an official denial, declaring that he knew nothing about it, had no dealings with the Bolsheviks, and had heard nothing about any concessions. That was during the elections, and, for all we know, to confess, during elections, that you have dealings with the Bolsheviks may cost you votes. That was why he issued an official denial. He had this report sent to all the newspapers that are hostile to the Bolsheviks and are on the pay roll of the imperialist parties . . .[30]

This mysterious Vanderlip was in fact Washington Vanderlip who had, according to Armand Hammer, come to Russia in 1919, although even Hammer does not seem to have known much of the matter.[31] Lenin’s rationalizations in trying to justify concessions to foreign capitalists to the “Moscow activists” in 1920 seem disingenuous and less than forthcoming. Washington Vanderlip was an engineer whose negotiations with Russia drew considerable attention in the USA. The New York Times wrote that Vanderlip, speaking from Russia, denied reports of Lenin’s speech to “Moscow activists” that the concessions would serve Bolshevik geopolitical interests, with Vanderlip declaring that he had established a common frontier between the USA and Russia and that trade relations must be immediately restored.[32] The New York Times reporting in 1922: “The exploration of Kamchatka for oil as soon as trade relations between this country and Russia are established was assured today when the Standard Oil Company of California purchased one-quarter of the stock in the Vanderlip syndicate.” This gave Standard Oil exclusive leases on any syndicate lands on which oil was found. The Vanderlip syndicate comprised sixty-four units. The Standard Oil Company has just purchased sixteen units. However, the Vanderlip concessions could not come into effect until Soviet Russia was recognized by the USA.[33]

The Vanderlip syndicate holds concessions for the exploitation of coal, oil, and timber lands, fisheries, etc., east of the 160th parallel in Kamchatka. The Russian Government granted the syndicate alternate sections of land there and will draw royalties amounting to approximately 5 percent on all products developed and marketed by the syndicate.[34]

It is little wonder then that US capitalists were eager to see the recognition of the Soviet regime.

Bolshevik Bankers

In 1922 Soviet Russia’s first international bank was created, Ruskombank, headed by Olof Aschberg of the Nye Banken, Stockholm, Sweden. The predominant capital represented in the bank was British. The foreign director of Ruskombank was Max May, vice president of the Guaranty Trust Company.[35] Similarly to “the Bolshevik of Wall Street,” William Boyce Thompson, Aschberg was known as the “Bolshevik banker” for his close involvement with banking interests that had channeled funds to the Bolsheviks.

Guaranty Trust Company became intimately involved with Soviet economic transactions. A Scotland Yard Intelligence Report stated as early as 1919 the connection between Guaranty Trust and Ludwig C. A. K. Martens, head of the Soviet Bureau in New York when the bureau was established that year.[36] When representatives of the Lusk Committee investigating Bolshevik activities in the USA raided the Soviet Bureau offices on May 7, 1919, files of communications with almost a thousand firms were found. Basil H. Thompson of Scotland Yard in a special report stated that despite denials, there was evidence in the seized files that the Soviet Bureau was being funded by Guaranty Trust Company.[37] The significance of the Guaranty Trust Company was that it was part of the J. P. Morgan economic empire, which Dr. Sutton shows in his study to have been a major player in economic relations with Soviet Russia from its early days. It was also J. P. Morgan interests that predominated in the formation of a consortium, the American International Corporation (AIC), which was another source eager to secure the recognition of the still embryonic Soviet state. Interests represented in the directorship of the American International Corporation (AIC) included: National City Bank; General Electric; Du Pont; Kuhn, Loeb and Co.; Rockefeller; Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Ingersoll-Rand; Hanover National Bank, etc.[38]

The AIC’s representative in Russia at the time of the revolutionary tumult was its executive secretary William Franklin Sands, who was asked by US Secretary of State Robert Lansing for a report on the situation and what the US response should be. Sands’ attitude toward the Bolsheviks was, like that of Thompson, enthusiastic. Sands wrote a memorandum to Lansing in January 1918, at a time when the Bolshevik hold was still far from sure, that there had already been too much of a delay by the USA in recognizing the Bolshevik regime such as it existed. The USA had to make up for “lost time,” and like Thompson, Sands considered the Bolshevik Revolution to be analogous to the American Revolution.[39] In July 1918 Sands wrote to US Treasury Secretary McAdoo that a commission should be established by private interests with government backing, to provide “economic assistance to Russia.”[40]

Armand Hammer

One of those closely associated with Ludwig Martens and the Soviet Bureau was Dr. Julius Hammer, an emigrant from Russia who was a founder of the Communist Party USA. There is evidence that Julius Hammer was the host to Leon Trotsky when the latter with his family arrived in New York in 1917, and that it was Dr. Hammer’s chauffeured car that provided transport to Natalia and the Trotsky children. The Trotskys were met on disembarkation at the New York dock by Arthur Concors, a director of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, whose advisory board included Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb and Co.[41] Dr. Hammer was the “primary owner of Allied Drug and Chemical Co.,” and “one of those not so rare creatures, a radical Marxist turned wealthy entrepreneur,” who lived an opulent lifestyle, according to Professor Spence.[42] Another financier linked to Trotsky was his own uncle, banker Abram Zhivotovskii, who was associated with numerous financial interests including those of Olof Aschberg.[43]

The intimate association of the Hammer family with Soviet Russia was to be maintained from start to finish, with an interlude of withdrawal during the Stalinist period. Julius’ son Armand, chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, was the first foreigner to obtain commercial concessions from the Soviet Government. Armand was in Russia in 1921 to arrange for the reintroduction of capitalism according to the new economic course set by Lenin, the New Economic Policy. Lenin stated to Hammer that the economies of Russia and the USA were complementary, and in exchange for the exploitation of Russia’s raw materials he hoped for America’s technology.[44] This was precisely the attitude of significant business interests in the West. Lenin stated to Hammer that it was hoped the New Economic Policy would accelerate the economic process “by a system of industrial and commercial concessions to foreigners. It will give great opportunities to the United States.”[45]

Hammer met Trotsky, who asked him whether “financial circles” in the USA regard Russia as a desirable field of investment? Trotsky continued:

Inasmuch as Russia had its Revolution, capital was really safer there than anywhere else because, “whatever should happen abroad, the Soviet would adhere to any agreements it might make. Suppose one of your Americans invest money in Russia. When the Revolution comes to America, his property will of course be nationalized, but his agreement with us will hold good and he will thus be in a much more favorable position than the rest of his fellow capitalists.[46]

The manner by which Russia fundamentally changed direction, resulting eventually in the Cold War when Stalin refused to continue the wartime alliance for the purposes of establishing a World State via the United Nations Organization, traces its origins back to the divergence of opinion, among many other issues, between Trotsky and Stalin in regard to the role of foreign investment in the Soviet Union.[47] The CFR report had been prescient in warning big business to get into Russia immediately lest the situation changed radically.

Regimented Labor

But for the moment, with Trotsky entrenched as the warlord of Bolshevism, and Lenin favorable towards international capital investment, events in Russia seemed to be promising. A further major factor in the enthusiasm certain capitalist interests had for the Bolsheviks was the regimentation of labor under the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat.” The workers’ state provided foreign capitalists with a controlled workforce. Trotsky had stated:

The militarization of labor is the indispensable basic method for the organization of our labor forces. . . . Is it true that compulsory labor is always unproductive? . . . This is the most wretched and miserable liberal prejudice: chattel slavery too was productive. . . . Compulsory slave labor was in its time a progressive phenomenon. Labor obligatory for the whole country, compulsory for every worker, is the basis of socialism. . . . Wages must not be viewed from the angle of securing the personal existence of the individual worker [but should] measure the conscientiousness, and efficiency of the work of every laborer.[48]

Hammer related of his experiences in the young Soviet state that although lengthy negotiations had to be undertaken with each of the trades unions involved in an enterprise, “the great power and influence of the trade unions was not without its advantages to the employer of labor in Russia. Once the employer had signed a collective agreement with the union branch there was little risk of strikes or similar trouble.”

Breaches of the codes as negotiated could result in dismissal, with recourse by the sacked worker to a labor court which, in Hammer’s experience, did not generally find in the worker’s favor, which would mean that there would be little chance of the sacked worker getting another job.[49]

However, Trotsky’s insane run in the Soviet Union was short-lived. As for Hammer, despite his greatly expanding and diverse businesses in the Soviet Union, after Stalin assumed power Hammer packed up and left, not returning until Stalin’s demise. Hammer opined decades later:

I never met Stalin—I never had any desire to do so—and I never had any dealings with him. However it was perfectly clear to me in 1930 that Stalin was not a man with whom you could do business. Stalin believed that the state was capable of running everything without the support of foreign concessionaires and private enterprise. That is the main reason I left Moscow. I could see that I would soon be unable to do business there and, since business was my sole reason to be there, my time was up.[50]

Foreign capital did nonetheless continue to do business with the USSR[51] as best as it was able, but the promising start that capitalists saw in the March and November revolutions for a new Russia that would replace the antiquated Czarist system with a modern economy from which they could reap the rewards was, as the 1923 CFR report warned, short-lived. Gorbachev and Yeltsin provided a brief interregnum of hope for foreign capital, to be disappointed again with the rise of Putin and a revival of nationalism and opposition to the oligarchs. The policy of continuing economic relations with the USSR even during the era of the Cold War was promoted as a strategy in the immediate aftermath of World War II when a CFR report by George S Franklin recommended attempting to work with the USSR as much as possible, “unless and until it becomes entirely evident that the U.S.S.R. is not interested in achieving cooperation . . .”

The United States must be powerful not only politically and economically, but also militarily. We cannot afford to dissipate our military strength unless Russia is willing concurrently to decrease hers. On this we lay great emphasis.

We must take every opportunity to work with the Soviets now, when their power is still far inferior to ours, and hope that we can establish our cooperation on a firmer basis for the not so distant future when they will have completed their reconstruction and greatly increased their strength. . . . The policy we advocate is one of firmness coupled with moderation and patience.[52]

Since Putin, the CFR again sees Russia as having taken a “wrong direction.” The current recommendation is for “selective cooperation” rather than “partnership, which is not now feasible.”[53]

The Revolutionary Nature of Capital

Should the fact that international capital viewed the March and even the November Revolutions with optimism be seen as an anomaly of history? Oswald Spengler was one of the first historians to expose the connections between capital and revolution. In The Decline of the West he called socialism “capitalistic” because it does not aim to replace money-based values, “but to possess them.” H. G. Wells, it will be recalled, said something similar. Spengler stated of socialism that it is “nothing but a trusty henchman of Big Capital, which knows perfectly well how to make use of it.” He elaborated in a footnote, seeing the connections going back to antiquity:

Herein lies the secret of why all radical (i.e. poor) parties necessarily become the tools of the money-powers, the Equites, the Bourse. Theoretically their enemy is capital, but practically they attack, not the Bourse, but Tradition on behalf of the Bourse. This is as true today as it was for the Gracchuan age, and in all countries . . .[54]

It was the Equites, the big-money party, which made Tiberius Gracchu’s popular movement possible at all; and as soon as that part of the reforms that was advantageous to themselves had been successfully legalized, they withdrew and the movement collapsed.[55]

From the Gracchuan Age to the Cromwellian and the French Revolutions, to Soros’ “color revolutions” of today, the Russian Revolutions were neither the first nor the last of political upheavals to serve the interests of Money Power in the name of “the people.”


[1] K. R. Bolton, “March 1917: Wall Street & the March 1917 Russian Revolution,” Ab Aeterno, No. 2 (March 2010).

[2] Michael Pearson, The Sealed Train: Journey to Revolution: Lenin–1917 (London: Macmillan, 1975).

[3] Paul Warburg, prior to immigrating to the USA, had been decorated by the Kaiser in 1912.

[4] Col. William Wiseman, head of the British Secret Service, was the British equivalent to America’s key presidential adviser, Edward House, with whom he was in constant communication. Wiseman became a partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. From London on May 1, 1918 Wiseman cabled House that the Allies should intervene at the invitation of the Bolsheviks and help organize the Bolshevik army then fighting the White Armies in a bloody Civil War at a time when the Bolshevik hold on Russia was doubtful (Edward M. House, ed. Charles Seymour, The Intimate Papers of Col. House [New York: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1926], Vol. III, p. 421).

[5] Olof Aschberg of the Nye Banken, Stockholm, the so-called “Bolshevik banker” who became head of the first Soviet international bank, Ruskombank, channeled funds to the Bolsheviks. On September 6, 1948 The London Evening Star commented on Aschberg’s visit to Swiss bankers that he had “advanced large sums to Lenin and Trotsky in 1917. At the time of the revolution Mr. Aschberg gave Trotsky money to form and equip the first unit of the Red Army.”

[6] Samuel Gompers, “Soviet Bribe fund Here Says Gompers, Has Proof That Offers Have Been Made, He Declares, Opposing Recognition. Propaganda Drive. Charges Strong Group of Bankers With Readiness to Accept Lenin’s Betrayal of Russia,” The New York Times, May 1, 1922. Online at Times’ archives: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E00E3D81739EF3ABC4953DFB3668389639EDE [3]

[7] Henry Wickham Steed, “Through Thirty Years 1892–1922 A personal narrative,” The Peace Conference, The Bullitt Mission, Vol. II.  (New York: Doubleday Page and Co., 1924), p. 301.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Charles Seymour, 165–66. House was assigned by Wilson to draw up the constitution for the League of Nations, and in 1918 formed a think tank at Wilson’s request, called The Inquiry, to advise on post-war policy, which became the Council on Foreign Relations. House was the US chief negotiator at the Peace Conference in Paris, 1919–1920.

[12] Henry Wickham Steed, “Peace with Honor,” Paris Daily Mail, 28 March 1922; quoted in Steed (1924).

[13] Crane was a member of a 1917 Special Diplomatic Mission to Russia, and a member of the American Section of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

[14] H. W. Steed, 1924, op. cit.

[15] Antony Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p. 71.

[16] Ibid., p. 75.

[17] Ibid., p. 73.

[18] William Harlan Hale, “When the Red Storm Broke,” America and Russia: A Century and a Half of Dramatic Encounters, ed. Oliver Jensen (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), p. 150.

[19] Ibid., p.151.

[20] “Gives Bolsheviki a Million,” Washington Post, 2 February 1918, cited by Sutton, ibid., pp. 82–83.

[21] A. Sutton, op.cit., p. 8.

[22] W. Harlan Hale, op.cit., p. 151.

[23] Trotsky while still in the USA had made similar claims. “People War Weary. But Leo Trotsky Says They Do Not Want Separate Peace,” New York Times, March 16, 1917. This was why he became the focus of British intelligence efforts via R. H. Bruce Lockhart, special agent to the British War Cabinet in Russia.

[24] “Bolsheviki Will Not Make Separate Peace: Only Those Who Made Up Privileged Classes Under Czar Would Do So, Says Col. W. B. Thompson, Just Back From Red Cross Mission,” New York Times, January 27, 1918.

[25] Robert S. Rifkind, ‘”The Wasted Mission,” America and Russia, op. cit., p. 180.

[26] Peter Grose, Continuing The Inquiry: The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996 (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006). The entire book can be read online at: Council on Foreign Relations: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html [4] (Accessed on February 27, 2010).

[27] Ibid. Chapter: “Basic Assumptions.”

[28] H. G. Wells, Russia in the Shadows, Chapter VII, “The Envoy.” Wells went to Russia in September 1920 at the invitation of Kamenev, of the Russian Trade Delegation in London, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik regime. Russia in the Shadows appeared as a series of articles in The Sunday Express. The whole book can be read online at: gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602371h.html [5]

[29] V. I. Lenin, December 6, 1920, Collected Works, 4th English Edition (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1965), Volume 31, 438–59 http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/06.htm [6] (Accessed on August 4, 2010).

[30] Ibid.

[31] A. Hammer, Witness to History (Reading, England: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988), pp.151-152.

[32] “Vanderlip’s Empire,” The New York Times, December 1, 1920, 14.

[33] “Standard Oil Joins Vanderlip Project,” The New York Times, January 11, 1922, p. 1.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Antony Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (New York: Arlington House Publishers, 1974), pp. 62–63.

[36] “Scotland Yard Intelligence Report,” London 1919, US State Dept. Decimal File, 316-22-656, cited by A. Sutton, ibid., p. 113.

[37] Basil H. Thompson, British Home Office Directorate of Intelligence, “Special Report No. 5 (Secret),” Scotland Yard, London, July 14, 1919; cited by Sutton, ibid., p. 115.

[38] A Sutton, op.cit., pp. 130–31.

[39] Sands’ memorandum to Lansing, p. 9; cited by Sutton, ibid., pp. 132, 134.

[40] A. Sutton, ibid., p. 135.

[41] Richard B Spence, “Hidden Agendas: Spies, Lies and Intrigue Surrounding Trotsky’s American Visit, January-April 1917,” Revolutionary Russia, Vol. 21, #1 (2008).

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44]  A. Hammer, Witness to History, op. cit., p. 143.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid., p. 160.

[47] K. R. Bolton, “Origins of the Cold War: How Stalin Foiled a New World Order,” Foreign Policy Journal, May 31, 2010, http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/31/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/all/1 [7]

[48] Leon Trotsky, Third All-Russian Congress of Trade Unions, April 6th, 1920. http://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/05.htm [8] (Accessed on August 4, 2010).

[49] A. Hammer, op. cit., p. 217.

[50] Ibid., p. 221.

[51] Charles Levinson, Vodka-Cola (West Sussex: Biblias, 1980). Antony Sutton, National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union (New York: Arlington House, 1973).

[52] Peter Grose, op. it., “The First Transformation,” http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/first_transformation.html [9]

[53] Jack Kemp, et al., Russia’s Wrong Direction: What the United States Can and Should do, Independent Task Force Report, no. 57 (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2006) xi. The entire publication can be downloaded at: http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/ [10]

[54] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1971), Vol. 2,  p. 464.

[55] Ibid., p. 402.

Source: Ab Aeterno, no. 5, Fall 2010


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[3] http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E00E3D81739EF3ABC4953DFB3668389639EDE: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9E00E3D81739EF3ABC4953DFB3668389639EDE

[4] http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/index.html

[5] gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602371h.html: http://www.counter-currents.comgutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0602371h.html

[6] http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/06.htm: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/06.htm

[7] http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/31/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/all/1: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/05/31/origins-of-the-cold-war-how-stalin-foild-a-new-world-order/all/1

[8] http://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/05.htm: http://www.marxists.org/archive/brinton/1970/workers-control/05.htm

[9] http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/first_transformation.html: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/first_transformation.html

[10] http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/: http://www.cfr.org/publication/9997/

dimanche, 16 septembre 2012

Léon Trotski et le cinéma comme moyen de conditionnement de masse


Nicolas BONNAL:

Léon Trotski et le cinéma comme moyen de conditionnement de masse (et de remplacement du christianisme)

En 1923, Trotski est encore au pouvoir en URSS. Il rédige un ensemble de textes sur la question du mode de vie : un de ces textes concernant l’utilisation du cinéma comme moyen de propagande et d’élimination de toute vie religieuse et chrétienne. Comme le cinéma a essentiellement servi à cette fonction au XXe siècle, avant que la télévision ne le remplace (la gluante demi-heure du Seigneur n’aura rien changé, sinon accéléré le processus), je préfère citer ce texte qui montre qu’un programme global de déchristianisation a été mis en oeuvre aussi bien dans le monde communiste que dans celui dit libre du libéralisme et de la démocratie. Cela ne fait que conformer les analyses de Kojève sur la Fin de l’Histoire et la création du petit dernier homme nietzschéen par-delà les frontières politico-stratégiques.
Trotski cherche donc à divertir et éduquer les masses. Il remarque l’intrusion du cinéma dans la vie quotidienne et son inutilisation par les Bolcheviks - on est avant le cuirassé Potemkine ! :
« Le désir de se distraire, de se divertir, de s’amuser et de rire est un désir légitime de la nature humaine... Actuellement, dans ce domaine, le cinématographe représente un instrument qui surpasse de loin tous les autres. Cette étonnante invention a pénétré la vie de l’humanité avec une rapidité encore jamais vue dans le passé. »
Le cinéma s’impose vite à ses yeux comme un moyen de dressage des masses - pardon, d’éducation ! Même le dessin animé a une fonction de dressage de l’enfance, comme le montre le monde de Walt Disney ou celui de Tex Avery aux USA. On peut aussi penser à Charlot ou au cinéma de Frank Capra, caricaturaux dans leurs ambitions éducatives et mimétiques.
« C’est un instrument qui s’offre à nous, le meilleur instrument de propagande, quelle qu’elle soit - technique, culturelle, antialcoolique, sanitaire, politique ; il permet une propagande accessible à tous, attirante, une propagande qui frappe l’imagination ; et de plus, c’est une source possible de revenus. »
La source possible de revenus a été bien exploitée du côté de Hollywood en tout cas, avec les plus grosses fortunes de l’époque ! Comme on sait, il règne une entente cordiale à l’époque entre l’URSS et l’Amérique de Roosevelt. Le cinéaste communiste et stalinien Eisenstein y sera reçu comme un roi quelques années plus tard. Je cite Eisenstein intentionnellement car il mêle subtilement dans son oeuvre le religieux (orthodoxe) et le cinématographe. Il le fait dans son chef d’oeuvre Alexandre Nevski et surtout dans Ivan le terrible. Ce n’est pas un hasard puisque l’un doit détrôner l’autre, après l’avoir vampirisé. Voici comment Trotski présente son affaire :
« Le cinématographe rivalise avec le bistrot, mais aussi avec l’Eglise. Et cette concurrence peut devenir fatale à l’Eglise si nous complétons la séparation de l’Eglise et de l’Etat socialiste par une union de l’Etat socialiste avec le cinématographe. »
Trotski a une vision politique et cynique de la religion, comme Hitler ou Napoléon, et sans doute bien d’autres politiciens : pour lui elle est un spectacle que l’on pourrait remplacer.
« On ne va pas du tout à l’église par esprit religieux, mais parce qu’il y fait clair, que c’est beau, qu’il y a du monde, qu’on y chante bien ; l’Eglise attire par toute une série d’appâts socio-esthétiques que n’offrent ni l’usine, ni la famille, ni la rue. La foi n’existe pas ou presque pas. En tout cas, il n’existe aucun respect de la hiérarchie ecclésiastique, aucune confiance dans la force magique du rite. On n’a pas non plus la volonté de briser avec tout cela. »
436px-leon_trotsky.jpgIl perçoit dans l’Eglise un ensemble de rites et de techniques dont on ferait bien de s’inspirer. C’est ce que font les gens du showbiz comme Coppola (les Baptêmes), les grandes messes ou bien sûr Madonna. Comme le rappelle Whoopi Goldberg dans Sister Act, les gens préfèrent aller à Las Vegas et payer que se rendre à la messe pour écouter gratis du chant sacré. The show is better ! Se voulant réaliste, Trotski ajoute :
« Le divertissement, la distraction jouent un énorme rôle dans les rites de l’Eglise. L’Eglise agit par des procédés théâtraux sur la vue, sur l’ouïe et sur l’odorat (l’encens !), et à travers eux - elle agit sur l’imagination. Chez l’homme, le besoin de spectacle, voir et entendre quelque chose d’inhabituel, de coloré, quelque chose qui sorte de la grisaille quotidienne -, est très grand, il est indéracinable, il le poursuit de l’enfance à la vieillesse. »
Optimiste pour l’avenir, Trotski estime que le cinéma remplacera l’Eglise et le reste parce qu’il offre un show plus riche et plus varié.
« Le cinématographe n’a pas besoin d’une hiérarchie diversifiée, ni de brocart, etc. ; il lui suffit d’un drap blanc pour faire naître une théâtralité beaucoup plus prenante que celle de l’église. A l’église on ne montre qu’un "acte", toujours le même d’ailleurs, tandis que le cinématographe montrera que dans le voisinage ou de l’autre côté de la rue, le même jour et à la même heure, se déroulent à la fois la Pâque païenne, juive et chrétienne. »
On comprend dès lors l’importance politique, psychologique, culturelle du cinéma comme moyen de dressage de masses et même des élites, puisqu’on a fait des westerns et des films de propagande des chefs d’oeuvre du genre humain et que l’on a créé le syndrome du film-culte souvent de genre satanique ou contrôle mental. Je pense aussi aux films catastrophes, éducateurs de masses en temps de crise (c’est-à-dire tout le temps) et aux films conspiratifs comme ceux de Tony Scott, qui vient de mourir d’une curieuse mort. Le réalisateur d’Ennemi d’Etat a tristement fini comme Daniel Gravotte, alias Sean Connery, jeté d’un pont dans l’Homme qui voulut être roi, mort éminemment pontife et symbolique. J’en profite pour rappeler la mort bizarre d’un certain nombre de cinéastes spécialistes du genre : Stanley Kubrick, Alan J.Pakula, Peter George (scénariste de Dr Folamour), les passionnants documentalistes Aaron Russo et Alan Francovitch. Le lecteur pourra se faire une idée en se penchent sur leur cas. Mais gare à la conspiration !
Je laisse encore une fois la parole à Trotski, ce grand homme et visionnaire inspirateur, si honteusement traité par le méchant Staline ! Pour beaucoup de gens à Hollywood ce fut d’ailleurs sa seule victime !
« Le cinématographe divertit, éduque, frappe l’imagination par l’image, et ôte l’envie d’entrer à l’église. Le cinématographe est un rival dangereux non seulement du bistrot, mais aussi de l’Eglise. Tel est l’instrument que nous devons maîtriser coûte que coûte!"

samedi, 17 avril 2010

Il caso Némirovsky: vita, morte et paradossi di un'ebvrea antisemita

Il caso Némirovsky:
vita, morte e paradossi di un’ebrea antisemita

di Stenio Solinas

Fonte: il giornale [scheda fonte]

 Cinque anni fa la Francia riscoprì all’improvviso una scrittrice che aveva dimenticato. Si chiamava Irène Némirovsky, era una russa di origine ebraica, era morta in un campo di concentramento nell’estate del 1942. Per un caso straordinario, le figlie avevano custodito fino a quel 2004 una valigia che conteneva la produzione letteraria materna, dattiloscritti, diari, appunti, e fra essi c’era il manoscritto del romanzo a cui Irène aveva lavorato dal giorno della disfatta bellica della Francia, giugno-luglio 1940, fino in pratica al momento in cui i gendarmi francesi si erano recati nella sua casa di campagna e l’avevano portata via. Suite française era il titolo scelto e per quanto nei piani della sua autrice esso prevedesse ancora un volume, relativo a come quel conflitto sarebbe finito, era omogeneo e a sé stante nelle due parti che lo componevano. Pubblicato a mezzo secolo di distanza, il romanzo ebbe un successo clamoroso, vinse dei premi, riportò alla ribalta il nome Némirovsky.

Anche in Italia il suo è stato un caso letterario. È Adelphi, infatti, l’editore che ne ha comprato i diritti e da Il ballo a David Golder, da Jézabel a Come mosche d'autunno a, appunto, Suite francese, ogni titolo si è rivelato un successo e ha contribuito a fare del suo autore uno dei più venduti e dei più citati. Poiché nel corso della sua vita Irène scrisse una decina di romanzi e una quarantina di racconti, il fenomeno è destinato a continuare nel tempo.

Adesso ancora Adelphi manda in libreria La Vita di Irène Némirovsky di Olivier Philipponnat e Patrick Lienhardt (traduzione di Graziella Cillario, pagg, 516, euro 23), uscita due anni fa in Francia da Grasset, una biografia molto ben documentata grazie alla quale del personaggio sappiamo praticamente tutto, compreso il forte tasso autobiografico della sua produzione, in pratica una sorta di reinvenzione artistica della sua famiglia, degli ambienti in cui visse, dei suoi gusti, delle sue passioni e dei suoi odii. E tuttavia, in questo saggio, così come nel successo che ha arriso a quanto finora è stato via via pubblicato, resta un elemento di ambiguità che nessuno si decide veramente a sciogliere e sul quale vale la pena di riflettere. Lo facciamo con tutta la delicatezza del caso, ma crediamo ne valga la pena.

Il fatto che la Némirovsky, intellettuale ebrea di origine, per quanto convertita al cattolicesimo, sia stata una vittima della «soluzione finale» hitleriana, potrebbe spiegare di primo acchito il perché di tanto interesse di pubblico e di critica: una sorta di risarcimento postumo per un nome che pure, negli anni Trenta, aveva goduto di risonanza, una sorta di mea culpa nei confronti di chi si era identificata con la Francia, la sua lingua, la sua storia, la sua cultura, e dalla Francia in fondo era stata abbandonata e poi tradita... Nel 1929 David Golder, il suo romanzo d’esordio per Grasset, vendette 60mila copie, ebbe una riduzione teatrale e una cinematografica, quest’ultima per la regia di Julien Duvivier, che andò persino alla Mostra del Cinema di Venezia del 1932...

E però, se si va più a fondo, un po’ tutta la narrativa della Némirovsky è un susseguirsi di ritratti e di ambienti in cui la «razza ebraica», come si sarebbe detto un tempo, non appare nella sua luce migliore, ma è spesso e volentieri un concentrato di avarizia e di cupidigia, di odio e di crudeltà, di disordine sociale e morale, di incapacità e/o non volontà di assimilazione, di vera e propria «razza a parte» insomma, nemica a tutti e in fondo nemica anche a se stessa...

C’è di più: russa di nascita (Kiev, 1901), la Némirovsky fugge dal suo Paese nel momento in cui i bolscevichi prendono il potere: la sua famiglia appartiene alla buona borghesia degli affari, lei ha l’educazione classica di chi fra istitutrici e lezioni private non si mischia al contatto promiscuo delle scuole pubbliche, passa le vacanze sulla Costa Azzurra, soggiorna ogni anno a Parigi... È una «russa bianca», insomma, con un padre banchiere e finanziere, una madre che pensa soltanto alle toilettes e agli amanti, un treno di vita che l’esilio, prima in Finlandia, poi in Svezia, infine in Francia, non muta più di tanto: appartamento sulla Rive droite, in pratica affacciato sugli Champs Elisées, studi alla Sorbona, estati a Biarritz o a Dauville... L’anticomunismo, insomma, è un dato acquisito, qualcosa che Irène respira fin da ragazza: ha fatto in tempo a vedere lo scoppiare della rivoluzione, i processi sommari, i saccheggi e i massacri. Non lo dimenticherà mai.

Infine, c’è un altro elemento da aggiungere al puzzle finora composto e alla ambiguità che lo circonda. Nel suo decennio letterario la Némirovsky scrive in linea di massima per testate che appartengono al largo spettro della destra francese, ha Robert Brasillach fra i suoi critici più entusiasti, ma anche più avvertiti quanto alla sua arte, ai suoi pregi e ai suoi difetti, frequenta Paul e Hélene Morand... Non è una scrittrice di politica, certo, non si interessa più di tanto alle ideologie, certo, ma è naturaliter di quel mondo borghese, antiparlamentare, antidemocratico, anticomunista, con qualche simpatia per il fascismo, con molte perplessità sul nazionalsocialismo, nazionalista e quindi attento al suolo, al sangue, alla radici, che è il mondo della destra francese della prima metà degli anni Trenta.

La Némirovsky, insomma, faceva parte di quel milieu di ebrei antisemiti di cui oggi non si riesce quasi più ad avere un’idea, ma che fra le due guerre mondiali esistette e spesso fu intellettualmente maggioritario: un atteggiamento etico ed estetico, il disprezzo per l’oro e per l’usura, per chi era considerato un senza patria, per chi rimaneva chiuso nel suo piccolo mondo di tradizioni e di riti.

Siamo di fronte, dunque, a un destino particolarmente tragico perché la Némirovsky è, come dire, vittima dei suoi «amici», non dei suoi nemici. Nelle lettere che Michel Epstein, il marito, scriverà a Otto Abetz, il potente capo della cultura tedesca in terra di Francia, si sottolinea in fondo proprio questo: l’essere anticomunista, il non avere tenerezza per gli ebrei, il fatto che i suoi libri continuino a essere pubblicati, che insomma non sia nella lista nera degli scrittori da dimenticare... Non è nazista Irène, certo che no, e non può sapere quale tragedia politica e morale sarà il nazismo, e il suo iniziale credere in Pétain non vuol dire augurarsi sterminio da un lato, sudditanza dall’altro. Abituati a ragionare con la testa del presente sulla realtà del passato, si fa fatica a capire le scelte di campo, le motivazioni, le speranze e le illusioni. Irène non penserà mai di mettersi in salvo perché crede di essere già in salvo: fa parte dell’intellighentia, di una nazione che ama e difende i suoi scrittori, è legata da sentimenti di amicizia con intellettuali e politici che ora godono di un peso maggiore rispetto agli anni di pace, è, insomma, nella stessa barca dei «vincitori».
Perché dovrebbero buttarla a mare, perché le dovrebbero fare del male? È per questa ambiguità che non si salvò. È questa ambiguità che ancora oggi fa velo a cosa veramente fu la Francia (e non solo la Francia) di ieri.

Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

vendredi, 28 novembre 2008

El sol de los muertos - El martirio de la Rusia Eterna

EL SOL DE LOS MUERTOS. El martirio de la Rusia Eterna


Ex: http://politicamenteconservador.blogia.com 

Ivan Shmeliov es uno de esos grandes escritores del siglo XX que apenas son conocidos en España por falta de traducciones. Ahora, una nueva editorial, El Olivo Azul, de Sevilla, ha tenido el valor de empezar a darlo a conocer. Y lo hace con El sol de los muertos, considerada una de sus obras más importantes.


Como el resto su obra, El sol de los muertos está basada en la experiencia de Shmeliov. Pero no se trata de una autobiografía. Es que Shmeliov jamás dejó de vivir, pensar y escribir la realidad rusa. Nació en una familia moscovita tradicional y ortodoxa, y se crió en el culto a la Rusia Eterna. Luego se dejó llevar por la admiración hacia la Revolución. Cayó en el malentendido, compartido por bastantes de sus coetáneos, de figurarse que el golpe de estado de 1917 significaría el fin del régimen de autocracia que había asfixiado la vitalidad del país. El desengaño le llegó pronto, tras conocer de primera mano la situación de la Rusia rural bajo el poder de los bolcheviques, esos que iban a implantar una nueva sociedad libre y próspera y, de paso, alumbrar un hombre nuevo.


La ruptura llegará tras una tragedia. El hijo único de Shmeliov se había pasado al Ejército Blanco, y él mismo le siguió a Crimea. La familia aceptó una oferta de amnistía de los rojos. Ni que decir tiene que el hijo fue fusilado sin juicio previo. Shmeliov logró escapar y se instaló en Francia. Allí, desde lejos, siguió escribiendo obsesivamente, y en ruso, sobre Rusia. Murió olvidado en 1950.


Éste que publica ahora El Olivo Azul está considerado uno de sus mejores títulos, tal vez su obra maestra. Su publicación en Rusia tras el derrumbamiento del Muro de Berlín, junto con otras obras de Shmeliov, fue un éxito monumental, el desquite póstumo de un hombre que no sabía vivir fuera de su tierra y que hizo del idioma su patria, sin hacerse, eso sí, ilusión alguna acerca de lo que tal esfuerzo de sublimación significaba.


El sol de los muertos describe, por lo menos en parte, esta tragedia. Relata la situación en Georgia durante los primeros años de la Revolución, cuando las hambrunas provocadas por las medidas de planificación, la campaña contra los kulaks y las arbitrariedades de Lenin y el Gobierno revolucionario llevaron a la muerte por inanición a millones de personas.


Pocas veces en la literatura se habrá podido sentir el agobio acuciante del hambre como en este relato. Yo, al menos, no lo había visto descrito nunca con tanta precisión, con tanta intensidad, con un realismo tan angustioso. Ahora bien, el lector no debe esperar una narración de atrocidades más o menos previsibles. Al revés, El sol de los muertos describe las consecuencias de una política –sin apenas hablar de ella– en el universo entero: en los seres humanos, en los animales, en la naturaleza.


A la brutalidad infligida por el poder, cada uno reacciona como puede: habrá quien trate de acumular alimentos, otros los robarán a sus vecinos; otros reparten lo que encuentran con ellos, también con los animales e incluso con los árboles, que acaban a su vez siendo víctimas de la atrocidad cometida por quienes quisieron dinamitar las leyes sagradas de la naturaleza, confundidas, en la literatura de Shmeliov, con las de la Santa Rusia.


En vez de limitarse a la denuncia, lo que ya sería bastante, El sol de los muertos se transforma así en algo aún más valioso. Shmeliov sabe como pocos expresar la pura esencia desmaterializada de lo que en Azorín se llamó las "pequeñas cosas". El hambre atroz, implacable, produce sobre la realidad el mismo efecto de desmaterialización que Shmeliov busca describir al intentar llegar al alma de la realidad. Además, el recuerdo convierte la evocación de una realidad perdida –doblemente, por haber sido sometida a la más brutal de las devastaciones y por vivir sólo en el recuerdo– en una presencia lacerante convertida en dolor, hasta tal punto que sólo es concebible de esa forma, purificada hasta el extremo.


Algunos de los grandes escritores rusos disidentes, por llamarlos de alguna manera, comparten esta sensibilidad. Ajmátova, Pasternak, Shalámov, también Soljenitsin, tienen el don de transmutar la más cruda descripción de la injusticia y la bestialidad en un canto a la dignidad del hombre. Shmeliov lleva el gesto aún más lejos: el martirio sin fin de una sociedad confundida con la misma naturaleza –eso es la Rusia Eterna– la vuelve aún más hermosa, por momentos casi radiante. El pavo real que vive en el huerto del protagonista realiza cada día su ritual esplendoroso, el almendro da flores al insinuarse la primavera, un insecto parece rezar al calor del sol, los niños se asombran con cualquier descubrimiento nuevo para ellos, una aristócrata intenta permanecer fiel a las buenas costumbres…


Shmeliov no se deja engañar por la nostalgia y sabe bien qué está retratando: lo que les espera a todos, después del sufrimiento y una prueba moral desorbitada, es la muerte, sin idealización alguna. Pero habiendo dejado al desnudo la esencia misma de la vida, también ha descubierto el núcleo de cualquier resistencia. Sin esperanza alguna, eso sí, ante lo que él mismo llamó el "espectáculo imponente" (entre exclamaciones) del totalitarismo comunista.



IVAN SHMELIOV: EL SOL DE LOS MUERTOS. El Olivo Azul (Sevilla), 2008, 271 páginas.


Por José María Marco

Libertad Digital/Libros, 18 de abril de 2008

mercredi, 12 novembre 2008

Février 1917 dans "La Roue Rouge" de Soljénitsyne




Février 1917 dans «La Roue Rouge»

de Soljénitsyne


Wolfgang STRAUSS


Un jeudi, il y a 79 ans, le 23 février du calendrier julien, la roue de la révolution s'est mise à tourner à Petrograd. La première partie du récit de Soljénitsyne, intitulé «Mars 1917» (dans sa version définitive, ce récit compte quatre parties), raconte les événements qui se sont déroulés entre les 8 et 12 mars 1917. Ces cinq jours n'ont pas ébranlé le monde, seulement la ville de Petrograd, site du roman de Soljénitsyne. Une grève spontanée des ouvrières du textile éclate le jour de la fête internationale des femmes; le manque de pain noir (il y a suffisamment de pain blanc) provoque des meetings où affluent non seulement des “gamins de rue” et toute une “plèbe”, mais aussi un “public de notables”. Les unités de réserve des régiments de la Garde, chargé de mater cette révolte, refusent d'obéir aux ordres. Les dragons et les cosaques du Don nettoient alors la Perspective Nevski, mais en gardant leurs lances hautes, sans charger sabre au clair. Pour la première fois dans l'histoire du tsarisme, une confrontation entre l'armée et le peuple ne se termine pas dans un bain de sang. Le soir du 12 mars, un lundi, tout Petrograd est aux mains des révoltés. Personne ne parle encore de révolution.


Le 8 mars, quand les premières réserves de pain sont pillées, la Tsarine Alexandra écrit à son mari: «Olga et Alexis ont la rougeole. Bébé tousse fort... Les deux enfants reposent dans des chambres occultées. Nous mangons dans la chambre rouge... Ah, mon chéri, comme c'est triste d'être sans toi  — comme je me sens seule, comme j'ai soif de ton amour, de tes baisers, mon cher trésor, je ne cesse de penser à toi. Prend ta petite croix quand tu dois prendre de graves décisions, elle t'aidera». Quelques jours plus tôt, la Tsarine, issue de la maison des grands-ducs de Hesse-Darmstadt, avait envoyé des conseils à son impérial époux: «Reste ferme, montre que tu as de la poigne. Les Russes en ont besoin. Tu n'as jamais man­qué une occasion de prouver ta bonté et ton amour, montre-leur maintenant ta poigne. Eux-mêmes le demandent. Récemment beaucoup sont venus me le dire: “Nous avons besoin du knout!”. Ce genre d'encouragement est rare, mais la nature slave est ainsi faite: la plus grande fermeté, même la dureté et un amour chaleureux. Ils doivent apprendre à te craindre - l'amour seul est insuffisant...».


Nicolas II tremble “en sentant anticipativement le malheur qui va s'abattre sur son pays, en pressentant les misères qui s'approchent”. «Le knout? Ce serait affreux. On ne peut ni l'imaginer ni le dire. Il ne faut pas lever la main pour frapper... Mais, oui, il faut être ferme. Montrer une forte poigne  -  oui, il le faut, enfin». Le Tsar change de ministres et les membres de son conseil d'Etat, ne rate plus un seul office religieux et n'oublie pas de jeûner, songe à dissoudre la Douma pour ne la convoquer qu'à la fin de l'année 1917. «Mais aussitôt après, l'Empereur est à nouveau tenaillé par le doute, comme d'habitude, un doute qui le paralyse: est-il bien nécessaire, d'aller aussi loin? Est-il bien utile de risquer une explosion? Ne vaudrait-il pas mieux choisir l'apaisement, laisser libre cours aux choses et ne pas porter attention aux coqs qui veulent le conflit? Une révolution? C'est là un bavardage vide de sens. Pas un Russe ne planifiera une révolution au beau milieu d'une guerre... au fond de leur âme tous les Russes aiment la Russie. Et l'armée de terre est fidèle à son Empereur. Il n'y a pas de danger réel». Ces ré­flexions ont été émises quelques jours avant le jeudi 8 mars. Quand le révolte de la foule éclate, le Tsar ne comprend pas. Jamais il n'a appris à avoir de l'énergie, de l'esprit de décision, de la confiance en soi, du sang froid.


Le 8 mars pourtant n'était pas fatum, explique Soljénitsyne, mais seulement un avertissement. L'histoire n'avait pas encore atteint un point de non-retour, elle ne venait que de lancer un défi. Constamment, cet autocrate n'avait eu sous les yeux que de mauvais exemples, auquel on le comparait: à son père Alexandre III qui avait freiné les réformes initiées par Alexandre II, le «libérateur des paysans», puis les avait annulées, tout en renforçant l'autocratie par des mesures policières brutales. A son arrière-grand-père Nicolas I que l'on avait surnommé le “gendarme de l'Europe” et que les paysans et les bourgeois appe­laient, en le maudisant, “Nicolaï Palkine”, c'est-à-dire “Nicolas le Gourdin”. Hélas Nicolas II avait refoulé un autre exemple, l'avait chassé de son esprit: Piotr Stolypine, l'autre “libérateur des paysans”, le vrai. Il fut le plus grands de tous les réforma­teurs sociaux, de tous les rénovateurs de l'Etat, dans l'histoire russe. Il avait réussi à extirper le terrorisme, il avait liquidé la révolution de 1905 et il avait fondé la monarchie constitutionnelle, assortie des droits de l'homme et de libertés ouvrières. En septembre 1911 il est assassiné à l'âge de 49 ans en plein opéra de Kiev, abattu par l'anarchiste et espion de la police Mordekhaï Bogrov. Non, cet homme remarquable que fut Stolypine, n'aurait pas apprécié les hésitations. La fermeté et l'art de réaliser des compromis, dresser des gibets et concrétiser l'émancipation, comme le faisait Stolypine, Nicolas II n'en était pas capable. Soljénitsyne ne laisse planer aucun doute: si Stolypine avait été Premier Ministre ce jeudi-là, quand la foule s'est ré­voltée, la révolution de février et la révolution léniniste d'octobre n'auraient pas eu lieu. L'histoire ne se fait pas, ce sont les rudes, les durs, les décidés qui la poussent en avant, qui la façonnent, la corrigent et la guident.


Le fossoyeur de la dynastie des Romanov, ce n'est pas le pauvre Nicolas II, explique Soljénitsyne, les responsables, ce sont les incapables et les corrompus: les généraux, les ministres, les grands serviteurs de l'Etat, les parlementaires, et non pas les révolutionnaires radicaux qui vivaient exilés ou bannis (car le 8 mars a surpris les permanents des partis anti-tsaristes en place à Petrograd). Les véritables coupables sont, d'après Soljénitsyne, les libéraux de gauche qui répandaient haine et nihi­lisme, en s'agitant dans la Douma, dans les médias, dans la “société éclairées”; à leur tête, les “démocrates constitutionnels” (les “Cadets”), avec leur “bloc progressiste” sur les bancs de la Douma. Ceux qui entreront comme les bourreaux de la Russie en ce siècle, ce ne sont pas les bolcheviques, mais les libéraux.


Soljénitsyne est resté fidèle à ses idées, depuis son discours de Harvard jusqu'au chapitre consacré à Stolypine dans Août 1914. Les 764 pages de son roman constituent une accusation très actuelle: le Sage du Vermont se dresse contre un spectre bien réel, qui surgit de la tombe des Cadets. Sociale-démocratie ou libéralisme? C'est l'alternative que suggèraient les parti­sans d'Eltsine en 1990-91. Mais il n'y a pas qu'un seul nouveau parti des “Cadets”. Du ventre de ce monstre que fut le PCUS, aujourd'hui paralysé, en agonie, jaillissent des parasites politiques, qui se font concurrence, en espérant provoquer une “nouvelle révolution de février”. Un système pluripartite selon le modèle libéral-capitaliste est vendu aux foules russes comme la panacée, l'ordre nouveau paradisiaque du XXIième siècle. Des “plates-formes démocratiques” aux “communistes démocrates”, de “Russie démocratique” à l'“Association sociale-démocrate”, tous ces nouveaux “Cadets” veulent un retour à février 1917. Mais, pour Soljénitsyne, cela signifie un retour au point de départ de la grande catastrophe russe de ce siècle, un retour pour recommencer l'horreur.


Mais cette volonté de revenir à février 1917 ne correspond par à la volonté de tout le peuple russe. L'appel au retour de Soljénitsyne indique qu'une partie de l'opinion russe ne souhaite pas qu'un second 8 mars se produise. Mais Soljénitsyne est déjà revenu en Russie: ses ouvrages n'y sont plus interdits. «Ce solitaire qui appelle à la réconciliation nationale, au repentir, est sans doute le seul qui puisse apaiser les passions», pense Alla Latynina, la plus célèbre des critiques littéraires russes d'aujourd'hui. Son retour implique aussi un retour à la prise de position directe, assurait en janvier 1990 Vadim Borissov, un connaisseur de l'œuvre de Soljénitsyne, collaborateur de la revue Novy Mir. En effet, Soljénitsyne prendra position face aux tentatives des néo-Cadets qui veulent imposer à la Russie en effervescence un régime libéral-socialiste, soit un système de valeur hostile par essence à la Russie. C'est d'ores et déjà ce qui transparait clairement dans son dernier livre.


Wolfgang STRAUSS.

(recension parue dans Criticón, n°118, mars-avril 1990; trad. franç.: Robert Steuckers; à cette époque Strauss fondait encore quelque espoir en Eltsine; depuis que celui-ci a pris une orientation nettement néo-cadette, en livrant la Russie corps et âme au libéralisme le plus outrancier, Strauss est devenu un critique acerbe du régime eltsinien).